Fourth World War brings political noise

With the success of films such as Super Size Me, Capturing the Friedmans, and Fahrenheit 9/11, the documentary has lately gained large-scale popularity as a genre. Furthermore, in the face of the upcoming Presidential election, more and more young people have understood their collective power as a demographic. Viewers are becoming increasingly interested in learning about current political issues, both domestically and globally. Many college students, both conservative and liberal, have grown tired of the skewed depiction of politics that mainstream media offers. The Fourth World War, a bold and unpolished documentary made by two filmmakers in their late 20s, will make a stop at Carnegie Mellon next Tuesday as part of its 50-city tour, educating students about the human side of global struggles that often goes unseen.

Richard Rowley and Jacqueline Soohen, the makers of The Fourth World War, have toured the country with their film since the spring of 2004. Matt Toups, a senior history and computer science major, saw the film in New Orleans, and decided to work at making the film an event in the AB Political Speakers series. ?In the beginning of the year we were lining up events for the semester while [Rowley and Soohen] were lining up their tour dates, and we just found something that worked both ways,? said Toups.

The political spotlight of The Fourth World War belongs to the average individual. ?This film shifts the focus of politics from two talking heads to the world as a whole,? Toups explained. The film provides intimate looks at conflicts in Mexico, Argentina, Palestine, Korea, South Africa, and Iraq, among others. In their quest at showing the human face of political struggle, Rowley and Soohen often put themselves in real danger. Instead of telling its story through political figures, The Fourth World War depicts the effects war has on civilians. According to Toups, ?[this documentary] is different from a lot of the political rhetoric right now. It shows the underdog perspective.? The Fourth World War provides the audience with a close look at both tragedies and victories in places of conflict.

The AB Political Speakers series is currently directed by Stuart Anderson, a doctoral student in robotics. Toups was the chair before him. Many events in the series are initiated by students or student groups who want to bring a particular issue to the attention of the student body. ?I think that students benefit most from my work when it encourages increased political thought, discussion, and involvement from students,? said Anderson. ?The best way to do that is by bringing speakers that strike a balance between bringing new issues or points of view and [presenting] an event that students will be excited to attend.? Thus, according to Anderson, Matt Toups? desire to bring The Fourth World War to campus was a particularly appealing idea. ?Matt was very successful in bringing well attended, quality events to campus as the chair [of the series] for the previous two years, and I expect this film to be another success.?
The film has received recognition and awards at 40 film festivals around the world. It is the result of over two years of filming. Tuesday?s showing in the Adamson Wing will feature appearances by Rowley and Soohen. Without a doubt, the event will provide its attendees with a fresh, observational perspective into many current questions.

Laura Palotie