David Dodd 2:53 a.m., May 21
The Ken Cinema opened Addiction Incorporated tonight, Friday January 27, 2012, for a one week run.
To quote the Ken Cinema's flyer:
In 1994, scientist Victor DeNoble became the first whistleblower to reveal the industry's efforts to manufacture "a maximally addictive" product. Tasked in the 1980s by a major tobacco company to invent a safer form of nicotine--one that would decrease the danger of heart failure while remaining just as addictive (so smokers could live, and smoke, longer)--DeNoble succeeded. But, in doing so, he inadvertently created something the tobacco companies had been avoiding for years--indisputable scientific evidence that nicotine was addictive. Their reaction was swift: his position was terminated, his lab was closed, and both his research and the "safer cigarette" were buried in the vaults and kept from the public...until...
The film was a masterpiece, in my opinion. At first, it seemed to be just talking heads, describing the early research. Then there was some hip animation which was cool, but I was wondering: would there be any real substance to this film?
The best part began when the actual footage of the early 1990's hearings was presented. To see all those executives, presidents and CEOs from different cigarette companies, all sitting in a row, and then standing and taking the oath with their right hands raised... priceless.
The "hip animation" died out early in the movie, having served its purpose, and the tone and technique of the film became even more intriguing.
This really happened? So recently... in the 1990's? What's happening now? What bill did President Obama sign in 2009?
The best part of opening night, which ended in spontaneous audience applause, was the 2nd round of applause when the star of the movie, Victor DeNoble himself, along with the film's Executive Producer Charmaine Parcero came down the aisle to answer questions.
One of the more poignant questions was from a women who started smoking at age 11 and has been smoking for over 40 years (42 years?) and has struggled to quit in several and various ways. Victor DeNoble had some encouraging words for her.
A gentlemen in his 80's says that at age 8, after Thanksgiving dinner, his grandfather (who did not smoke) called him over and showed him a cigarette sitting on a little dish. They opened up the cigarette to expose the tobacco and then lighted it on fire. After it had burned, his grandfather asked him to look at the brown liquid tar that resulted. Then when the tar hardened and dried, he told him to look again. "That's what's going to happen in your lungs".
Victor DeNoble was impressed with that, because it's the methodology he uses when speaking with kids: he doesn't tell them what to do. He gives them the facts. And they get it.
Charmaine and Victor plan to be there at the Ken Cinema one more night (Saturday 28-Jan-2012 for the 7:00pm showing) and then they're off to Capitol Hill for a screening, after which the film will feature in Washington DC.
An excellent film. Really, really good.