Saturday, May 19, 2012

The United States of Prescription Drugs

Here's a film festival synopsis first sentence guaranteed to grab anyone's attention: “The United States comprises five percent of the world’s population but consumes 80 percent of its pharmaceutical narcotics.”

It's taken from the official blurb for American Addict, a feature documentary world premiering this weekend at the 2012 Seattle International Film Festival. In attendance for both last night's debut screening and this afternoon's encore presentation is the film's director, USC film school grad Sasha Knezev.

Under the heading “A Horror Film Starring You,” an early user review for the film posted on the SIFF website frames pharmaceutical industry execs as far scarier protagonists than zombies or vampires:

This is a very complete documentary about the relationship between the pharmaceutical giants and their minions, which is in essence everyone else in the world. The complicity of politicians, doctors, media, government agencies and consumers is examined, along with the requisite history. There are no are bells and whistles, just grim facts. It is one of the most frightening movies I've ever seen.

Sounds like a worthy companion piece to Michael Moore's Sicko, and a film we will be hearing a lot more about as the year progresses. Knezev has made two previous feature-length films, three shorts and directed various TV commercials through his production company. He is also the author of a book about the media perception of Southeastern European cinema titled Through the Western Lens.

[888 Films]

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