Posted at 5:43 PM on December 12, 2007
by Euan Kerr
Being a good Scot I am a fan of the much quoted Robert Burns line "Oh wad some po'or the giftie gie us, Tae see oorselves as ithers see us." (Trans: "Oh would some power give us the gift to see ourselves as others do.")
So apparently are Dominic Howes and Joel Weber who co-directed "The Listening Project," a documentary which gets its Midwest premiere at the Oak Street Cinema in Minneapolis tomorrow night. They enlisted four Americans to travel the world to visit 14 countries to ask the people they meet "What do you think of America?"
The answers they get run the gamut, from respect to outrage, and from envy to dismissal. while there is a superficial resemblance to the nonsensical vox pops which are a staple of TV news, and are all to often used as a substitute for actual reporting, "The Listening Project" uses a wealth of voices to develop a bigger picture.
It's both interesting and a little chastening. It is also above all hopeful.
All four of the "listeners" will appear at the Oak Street screening along with film makers Howes and Weber. No doubt there will be a lot of questioning there too.