After Tiller (2013)

After Tiller poster

 

Directed by Martha Shane
Lana Wilson
Director of Photography Hillary Spera
Cinematography Emily Topper
Edited by Greg O’Toole
Executive Producers Artemis Media Ventures
Belle Max Productions
Produced by Martha Shane
Lana Wilson

 

 

America is at war with itself over abortion.  In other countries, this simple, legal, and in many cases life-saving medical procedure is a matter of personal, private choice.  In the USA, it’s an act that elicits screams of protest, picket lines, macabre placards, and, in the case of Dr. George Tiller, a self-righteous fanatic with a gun.

Dr. Tiller specialized in third trimester abortion, a complex procedure that focuses on preserving the integrity of the mother’s reproductive organs whilst terminating her pregnancy at any point after twenty weeks.  Despite the fact that these abortions count for less than 1% of those carried out in the United States each year, anti-abortion activists targeted Dr. Tiller and his clinic in Wichita, Kansas with tragic results.

On May 31, 2009, as he attended a church service with his family, Tiller was shot in the head by one such activist.  Tiller’s assassination made him the eighth abortion clinic worker to be murdered since Roe vs. Wade, and also wiped out his Wichita clinic and the health services provided to Kansas women.

In the wake of this tragedy, only four doctors in the United States, all friends and former colleagues of Dr. Tiller, offer specialist third trimester abortions.  AFTER TILLER, Martha Lane and Shana Wilson’s thoughtful documentary, explores their daily practice, interviewing them, the workers in their clinics, and the patients who seek their help.

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The Anti Hero Era: Walt & Dexter

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall)

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall)

Television waved farewell to two of its iconic anti-heroes over the past week: Walter White and Dexter Morgan. Although these characters were worlds apart in style and execution, at their core they both embodied the essential oppositions of the anti-hero. After eight seasons each, they will be missed, albeit for different reasons.

The anti-hero is a compelling character type within fiction.  On one level, he or she is a subversion of the traditional hero, devoid of the typically heroic qualities of loyalty, morality, nobility, physical strength and beauty, athletic skills, intelligence or confidence.  The anti-hero is flawed — often fatally — and answers only to him or herself, and their internal values (which may not be values in the truest sense of the word). The anti-hero is the Jungian shadow of the hero, the dark untrammeled self, the cautionary tale of what happens when an individual steps outside the light.

Nonetheless, the anti-hero still gets stuff done, often in the form of revenge or payback, or vigilante justice. Unfettered by a moral framework, the anti-hero can work outside social and legal restrictions, free to act as he or she chooses.  The anti-hero represents a seductive ‘What If…’ for audiences. What if you could make your own decisions? Enforce your own justice? What if nothing else mattered but gratifying your desire for vengeance?

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