I have to admit, this is not the film I was expecting. When I heard the title The Yes Men are Revolting, I thought, great, this film will be chock full of some of the best culture-jamming stunts the duo of Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno and their team of activists pulled off over the last few years. It was, but that wasn’t all.
Having done some guerilla theatre myself back in the day, I was happy to see what arguably the most successful shit disturbers for a cause on the planet had pulled off. The movie delivered. From impersonating Environment Canada at the Copenhagen Climate Conference to really stirring the pot and getting the room dancing at the Homeland Security Congress on Capitol Hill alongside Canadian anti-tar sands activist Gitz Crazyboy, I was impressed.
It was entertaining; they got their point across and presented fake propositions that were much better than what we actually get from governments and companies. But the film really got interesting when it delved into the Yes Men’s actual day-to-day reality.
We learn, or at least I learned, that Bichlbaum and Bonanno are actually Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos. They have lives outside of the Yes Men and even have day jobs. Trying to save the world, believe it or not, does not always pay the bills.
This is a documentary in every sense of the word. Co-director (along with The Yes Men) Laura Nix follows the pair around as they deal with family, relationships and take part in some of the major events of the past few years, from Occupy Wall Street to Hurricane Sandy relief. We even get glimpse of how that particular natural disaster affected them personally.
We get a behind-the-scenes look at some truly great stunts and learn that, no, not every jam goes off as planned. What happens when things don’t go right? What happens when they come off as planned but the desired effect is not produced? What keeps you going?
For The Yes Men, it is their desire to fight climate change and leave a better world for future generations. From New York, to Alberta’s Tar Sands, to Uganda, to Denmark and eventually to Washington, DC, we follow The Yes Men through culture jams, lawsuits and the re-discovery that it is all worth while.
It’s a fun and interesting film on its own, but even more important if you’re interested in guerilla activism or want to fight climate change.
Watch this trailer and then come meet the Yes Men in person when the film screens at Cinema Politica tonight:
The Yes Men are Revolting screens tonight, Monday, March 16th at 7pm at Cinema Politica Concordia, H-110, 1455 de Maisonneuve Ouest, Metro Guy-Concordia