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Originally published Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 3:01 PM

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‘Let Fury Have the Hour’: Progressive artists vent with passion

A movie review of “Let Fury Have the Hour,” Antonino D’Ambrosio’s documentary that focuses on several dozen artists, whose works date from the punk era onward, unleashing anger against the system from a progressive or leftist point of view.

San Francisco Chronicle

Movie Review 2 stars

“Let Fury Have the Hour,” a documentary by Antonino D’Ambrosio. 87 minutes. Not rated. Grand Illusion, through Thursday.

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If passion were all that mattered, “Let Fury Have the Hour” might be the film of the year. The documentary offers several dozen artists, whose works date from the punk era onward, venting righteous anger against the system from a progressive or leftist point of view.

There’s plenty of fury on hand from the punk and rap musicians, skateboarders, poets, moviemakers, street artists and theatrical types who offer their views to writer-director
Antonino D’Ambrosio. But no matter what your politics, you might be disturbed by the self-righteousness in evidence.

The film’s sense of history goes back only as far as the Reagan and Thatcher era — both are seen strictly as devil figures here — which gave birth to politicized punk music (such as that of the Clash) and rebellious attitudes that rippled through the art world. Among the many performers and artists interviewed are Chuck D, Eve Ensler, John Sayles, Edwidge Danticat, Shepard Fairey, Lewis Black and Billy Bragg.

To be fair, some of their ideas are expressed thoughtfully, but others are silly and overwrought. And in trying to be inclusive, D’Ambrosio goes overboard — the sheer number of interviews gives the film a slapdash feeling and undermines its impact.

Because it’s unlikely to attract many viewers with different political sensibilities, “Let Fury Have the Hour” is yet another documentary that’s preaching to the choir.

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