It is often said that he is the fourth estate. But over the years, the collective view of journalism, especially American journalism, has also been plagued by the concept of fake news and a general lack of public confidence in its practice.
Fortunately, cinema, especially when it tells real stories, can help us find faith!
At the end of the 1960s, facing the almighty New York Timesthe washington post struggles to establish its credibility at the national level. Until the Pentagon Papers fall into the hands of the newspaper’s editor and its director (the first woman to hold this position). But can the latter take the risk of publishing the conclusions of this analytical report which prove that the United States knowingly organized the Vietnam War?
Motivated, we feel, by the idea of depicting the nobility and dignity inherent in the profession of journalist, Steven Spielberg flirts with bombast to better, basically, talk about the independence of the media, a subject whose current events are not is more to prove.
Obviously, the presence of Rolls-Royce Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep helps make this old-school film an exemplary and moving work.
Oscar – rather unexpected – for best picture, spotlight returns, with sobriety and restraint, to a particularly traumatic event: the scandal of the pedophile priests protected by the Catholic Church near Boston during the 1970s.
A protection that the investigation of the Boston Globe shattered years later (and which won the team the Pulitzer Prize). It is to this work which lasted a year, precise, meticulous and rigorous, that the film pays homage, certainly aligning the stars (Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams), but never yielding to the sirens of sensationalism or solicitation . Like the idea of model journalism that he intends to defend.
Revelations (The Insider), by Michael Mann (2000)
If of course American cinema has some models of rare power in its way of evoking investigative journalism (The President’s Men, to name but one, deserves its place in all journalism courses), Michael Mann’s film has this rather unique way of considering it as a weapon of formidable efficiency. Because at the heart of this film, it is a rather particular scandal that must be brought to light: that of the real effects of tobacco on health, hidden by the industry, but revealed by Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino), show reporter 60 Minutesand a scientist (Russel Crowe) employed by a cigarette manufacturer.
Secrets, betrayals, manipulations : the quasi-police investigation also serves – above all – for Michael Mann to expose with great finesse how ideals are sometimes difficult to reconcile with reality, and how being a righteous and just human being is really not as easy as show it… the other films!
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The trailer (source: YouTube)
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The Post, and these films that honor journalism