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Econ Extra Credit: Our year in film
“One of the beautiful things about documentary film is value for time spent.”
— David Brancaccio, January 2021.
Econ Extra Credit invested 12 months in 12 documentaries this year, bringing us from an eclectic treatment of Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” and the exploration of entrenched economic inequality, to the socioeconomic parable of the Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969, to the forests of Piedmont, Italy, where men and their dogs scour for truffles for a living.
Our grab-the-popcorn project, “Documentary Studies,” also introduced us to Karen Nussbaum, founder of 9to5, the 1970s labor movement for women working in offices.
It brought us to inner-city Chicago in the late ’80s, where two young Black basketballers vied for a shot at their dream of going professional. And it took us inside Dee’s Tots Childcare in New Rochelle, New York, where a husband-and-wife team contend with the trying, enlightening (and often heartwrenching) business of 24/7 child care.
“The Prison in Twelve Landscapes” broughtly us vividly and memorably through the myriad and wide-reaching economic consequences of mass incarceration. We also explored the business of the typeface (of Helvetica, specifically), the cachet of the typewriter and the drama of the Enron scandal. We even poured one out for Blockbuster.
If you watched even one of our 12 picks along with us, thank you. To all of you listeners and readers who took the time to send thoughtful reflections, observations and criticisms of the docs and their accompanying broadcast features, thank you. We thoroughly enjoyed this learning curve! Hope you did, too. Stay tuned for more from Econ Extra Credit in 2022.
— the EEC team
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