“A Whisper to a Roar” tells of democracy’s heroes

Dragons come in many forms.

And so do heroes.

This feature-length documentary from filmmaker Ben Moses chronicles the stories of key activists – and their close supporters – working for freedom and democracy in five countries: Robert Patino of Venezuela, Esraa Ahmed Fattah and Ahmed Maher of Egypt, Anwar Ibrahim of Malaysia, Morgan Tsvangerai of Zimbabwe, and Viktor Yushchecko of Ukraine.

Their stories are marked by incredible courage and sacrifice.

Mr. Moses took his inspiration for the documentary from Larry Diamond, the author of the 2009 book “The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World.”  Ben Moses has won eight Emmys over the years and was the co-producer of the 1987 film “Good Morning, Vietnam!”

The Rt. Hon, Kim Campbell, Canada’s 19th prime minister, comments throughout; Alfred Molina narrates the animation portions of the film.

“From a Whisper to a Roar” makes several rounds of its subjects in a concentric way,  each one only a few moments long; enough to set the scene, introduce the audience to the people, their country’s movement toward democracy and the subsequent struggle for the sake of the well-being of the people of that their nation.

Of course, this is what everyone says when they move to take over a government.

Each time the film moves to the next section a quotation appears; these form a thoughtful framework for the movie that shows how much these brave people suffer for the sake of democracy and freedom. I list some these quotes here; note the theme of integrity, non-violence, and the non-viability of oppression:

If you want to test a man’s character, give him power – Abraham Lincoln

Hope is a risk that must be run – Georges Bernanos

Poverty is the parent of revolution – Aristotle

The greatest conqueror is the one that overthrows the enemy without a blow – Chinese proverb

It’s dangerous to be right when the government is wrong  – Voltaire

A mosquito can make the lion’s head bleed – African proverb

A spark may raise a formidable blaze – French proverb

The story that opens the film seems like a fairytale that ends with the hero from the outside, representing the oppressed, thwarts the powers that be, and then becomes the oppressor. The film ends with the conclusion to the animated story: a young man says he cannot overcome an oppressor alone; that everyone must work together.

This is a film worth watching.

It’s still playing in New York and Los Angeles but it only has a few days left. Click here for information. The DVD is due out in early 2013.

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