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Our Picks + Our House & The Social Dilemma

Saturday 14 November 2020, by Abla Kandalaft, Coco Green

This week, Abla picks Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult, a sort of parallel documentary to the previously discussed The Vow, also about Keith Raniere and NXIVM but more explosive and revelatory, and Egyptian horror series Paranormal.

She mentions award-winning documentary Tell Spring Not to Come This Year available to watch online all this month here.

Coco Green talks about:

The China Hustle (2017)

Like the 2016 documentary Betting on Zero, about short sellers and their suspicions of fraud in the multilevel marketing company Herbalife, The China Hustle has a similar focus, but with Chinese companies running a similar scam. It’s believed that many of the reverse merger companies are overvaluing their companies by as much as 1000% to raise money in an IPO. After traders make their commission and companies get the cash, the value drops leaving any existing stockholders with worthless stock.


White Boy Rick film (2018)

Richard Wershe Jr. became an FBI informant at the age of 14—easy stuff like identifying dealers and drug houses in his Detroit neighbourhood.

His father, Richard Wershe Sr., was gun dealer and involved in the criminal world, so he negotiated the paid informant job on his behalf—rationalised it as they were targeting the more dangerous drug dealer.

The case stands out because unlike the dirty cops, hired hitmen, and drug kingpins Wershe’s testimony and narcing put away, at age 17 his drug dealing saw him receive a life sentence. Ultimately released in 2018 after serving more than 30 years, it’s a story of black political power in Detroit. Rick Wershee Jr doesn’t have the political, social or economic power to fight his charges—nor was he about to move his whiteness beyond symbolism to access the white neighbourhoods, schools, jobs, and wealth that would’ve allowed him to serve ‘white time’ that he otherwise would’ve been entitled to.


We discuss:

His House (2020)

The film tells the story of a refugee couple from South Sudan settling into English life as they await a decision on their asylum application. Spoiler, to escape the genocide they kidnapped a child to make their way onto a bus that was ahead of soldiers carrying out atrocities. Then, in their journey across the Mediterranian, the boat overturned and the husband, Bol, let the child drown while saving his wife, Rial.

They’re now haunted by many things, but mostly their descent into brutality in an effort to save their own lives.

The Social Dilemma (2020)

A docu-fiction on the ills and dangers of social media, which includes talking heads from among the highest echelons of the tech community, many of which were at the helm of major social media networks and have since then left and are critical of the role it plays in disseminating false news, polarising opinion and disintegrating social relations.


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