Made in Chicago
Made in Chicago was a suprising, fresh, no frills little gem. With no slight intended on the Director, Roxanne Frias, watching the beginning I thought I was in for a cheap ride that was simply cashing in on the popularity of Obama, but what unfolded turned out to be very worthwhile.
Clearly this was a documentary without a big budget. Much of the footage from Obama’s speeches looked like it was taken from Youtube.com, but where many documentaries use big budgets and amazing cinematography to cover up weak information, this one made up for with close connections to the very formative years of Obama’s life in Chicago and his ascent to the presidency.
Made in Chicago connected with Ministers who were involved in giving Obama one of his first jobs in Chicago as a community organiser, working for local churches in the poorer parts of the city. Other people interviewed included lawyers connected to his work in law and then people connected to his work as a politician.
It is clearly a documentary that is unashamedly favourable towards Obama and one can’t help but come away with an appreciation for the significance of an African American who cut his political teeth in Chicago, winning the presidency.
One of the interesting points made is through the conversations with a group of African American political activists who were instrumental in the election of the first African American Mayor of the heavily racially divided city of Chicago, a mayoralty that had been dominated by the same person for years previously. It was a grass roots movement that worked against the odds and mobilised black communities in the city through sheer hard work.
In the documentary, these activists demonstrated that even though Obama was not purely of their ilk, not having experienced the same sort of activism they went through in the years prior, they were glad to see that partially because of the work they had done and the work done by activists over the last decades, an African American could realistically run for the presidency and win it.
Made in Chicago does a great job of connecting Obama’s presidency and his ideals to his work in that city. It chronicles the story of a young man not born into privilege, someone who worked hard to get where he has. Agree with him and all his politics or not, Obama’s presidency represents part of the success of the sacrifice of many African American activists before him.
It is most certainly a documentary worth watching.
Reviewed by: Frank Ritchie
Rating: [G] Suitable for general audiences.
Released on: April 2nd, 2009
Length (Minutes): 52
Media Format: DVD