Friday, January 24, 2020
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Movie review: Hillary’s America

Movie director Dinesh D’Souza released a movie last week in US theaters, Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party, which he claims is a documentary about how the Democratic Party is trying to “steal” America and also claims that the “empire” has “struck back” against him after he released a film before the previous presidential election claiming that President Barack Obama was on a mission to make America a colonial power.

The last film proved to be inaccurate, as this one will also prove to be, but what tipped me off is that he starts this film off with a re-enacted scene in a halfway house. Mr D’Souza avoided prison two years ago by pleading guilty to campaign finance laws and serving a small sentence in the halfway house depicted in the film. The judge during his trial read an excerpt from a letter written by Mr D’Souza’s ex-wife, Dixie D’Souza, in which she said he had a “flawed character and lack of truthfulness,” according to a report in the New York Times.

Mr D’Souza, 55, came to the US alone as a teenager from India. His inability to comprehend simple facts, shown prominently in his latest film, reflects poorly on the education system in India. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, which administers the PISA test, reports that India falls below the averages among the developed countries that are members of the OECD on numerous measures of educational quality:

  • Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP (2011) is 3.4%, compared to an OECD average of 5.2%.
  • Children can be expected to spend only 11.7 years (2011) in the education system, compared to an OECD average of 17.6 years.
  • The overall enrollment rate in the education system is 69% for 14- through 18-year-olds, compared to an OECD average of 84% for 15- through 19-year-olds.

Furthermore, the percentage of women aged 15–25 in India (2005-06 data) who are neither in education, employment, nor training stood at 57 percent, a whopping number when it comes to equality between the sexes, compared to the OECD average of 14 percent.

Let me be clear: India keeps women out of education and the work force at a rate that is nearly four times higher than the rest of the developed world. It is only natural that Mr D’Souza would be incapable of understanding a country where women are treated on a much more equal level and, in some fields, better than men. India is making progress in the last decade or so, but Mr D’Souza left the country long before that started.

Strengthening India’s education and skills system is essential to boost inclusive growth and take India to a higher phase of economic development. India’s five-year plan (2012–17) aims to raise the overall literacy rate to over 80 percent and reduce the gender gap to less than 10 percent. The 2013–14 budget focuses on the poor, with the goal of creating opportunities for young people to acquire the education and skills needed for decent employment. (OECD)

I feel that making the claim, as he does in this movie, that the Democratic Party is responsible for slavery in America, is just run-of-the-mill right-wing propaganda, as expected, given that Mr D’Souza is a right-wing nut. These revisionist histories can be found on numerous right-wing websites without much research, and their inclusion indicates his laziness as a movie producer or director. That makes this a terrible movie.

I hope, though, that Republicans opposed to Ms Clinton becoming president don’t espouse the misogynistic, abusive, and un-American views expressed by Mr D’Souza in the film.

On limited release in US theaters, July 15, 2016, Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party is rated PG-13 and runs for 100 minutes. Many Democrats are portrayed with a slanted bias, and there is some revisionist history told to the audience in a film that purports to be a documentary. We saw the movie in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

We review movies in order to support Illinois Learning Standards in the fine arts, especially 26.A.4b (Understand how the primary tools, support tools and creative processes—researching, auditioning, designing, directing, rehearsing, refining, presenting—interact and shape drama, theater and film production), 26.A.5 (Analyze and evaluate how the choice of media, tools, technologies and processes support and influence the communication of ideas), and 27.B.5 (Analyze how the arts shape and reflect ideas, issues or themes in a particular culture or historical period), among others.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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