Director Brett Morgen uses mixed media, a amalgamate of archival footage and animation set to a soundtrack of edgy protest music, to tell the tale of one of the defining events of 1968. In an unsettled and unsettling year, a trial saw 60s counterculture icons Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin of the Youth International Party, and assorted radicals David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, and Lee Weiner charged with conspiracy and inciting to riot stemming from their actions at the anti-Vietnam War protests in Chicago, Illinois, during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Black Panther Bobby Seale had his case severed from the others but earns considerable coverage here.
The story, based on transcripts and rediscovered audio recordings, is familiar but Morgen’s film is as much an experience as it is a straightforward documentary. His mix and match of styles brings with it an energy that captures the wild ‘n woolly climate of the times, from the hippies and the Yippies to the general atmosphere in Chicago. It’s trippy with a vibrant social awareness that side steps many of the cliches used in portraying the times.
“Chicago 10” is a digital release as part of the Impact Series.