Book The Corporation

The Corporation

dirs. Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott | 145 minutes | 2003 | documentary


A darkly amusing account of the institution’s evolution as a legal “person,” The Corporation is a powerful indictment of the roots of corporate power. So, what kind of person is it? The filmmakers conclude that a person whose prime directive is to produce ever-increasing profit for its shareholders – regardless of the cost to people or the planet – fits the diagnostic criteria of a psychopath.

One hundred and fifty years ago, the corporation was a relatively insignificant entity. Today, it is a vivid, dramatic and pervasive presence in all our lives. Like the Church, the Monarchy, and the Communist Party in other times and places, the corporation is today’s dominant institution. But history humbles dominant institutions. All have been crushed, belittled or absorbed into some new order. The corporation is unlikely to be the first to defy history. In this complex and highly entertaining documentary, Mark Achbar, co-director of the influential and inventive Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, teams up with co-director Jennifer Abbott and writer Joel Bakan to examine the far-reaching repercussions of the corporation’s increasing preeminence. Featuring interviews with CEO’s and top-level executives from some of the world’s largest corporations and critical thinkers: Noam Chomsky, Peter Drucker, Milton Friedman, Naomi Klein, Vandana Shiva, Steve Wilson, Jane Akre, and muckraking filmmaker Michael Moore.

Winner of the Audience Award for Documentary in World Cinema at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and numerous other awards including 7 audience choice awards. Based on the book: “The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power” by Joel Bakan.


Praise for The Corporation:

The Corporation, from Mark Achbar (co-director of Manufacturing Consent), Jennifer Abbott, and Joel Bakan, examines the nature and history of corporations and includes specific examples of corporate deception, including media bias. Through interviews with 42 people, among them company CEOs, thinkers, activists, and whistleblowers, including Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Michael Moore, and executives from Pfizer, Goodyear, and Royal Dutch Shell, The Corporation asks some pointed questions that offer a generally unflattering portrait of increasingly global businesses.” — Eugene Hernandez, indieWIRE

“Advance press billed The Corporation as ‘the next Bowling for Columbine,’ but don’t be misled: The Corporation is smarter. Riffing on complicated economic structures with more than a modicum of wit, Canadian filmmakers Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, along with screenwriter Joel Bakan, have hit upon a very clever device. They take a textbook definition of psychopath… and proceed to show how perfectly corporations fit the diagnosis. Hilarious and chilling, The Corporation wrangles international finance to the ground and shows how documentary at its best can let us know more than personality journalism ever can… The Corporation is brilliant at demonstrating how we’ve been hoodwinked.” — B. Ruby Rich,San Francisco Bay Guardian


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