AIFF 2017- The Most Important Film To Watch This Year Is About A Hulk Hogan Sex Tape
Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and Trials of the Free Press
While other media outlets treated the Hulk Hogan sex tape and ensuing lawsuit against the online tabloid Gawker as a salacious affair, delivering courtroom updates about the $100-plus million lawsuit with a wink and a smirk, filmmaker Brian Knappenberger takes a more sober and high-minded approach; after all, as the film repeatedly points out, this is a big deal, and the verdict in favor of Terry Bollea (the real person behind the alter ego Hulk Hogan) ruptures the First Amendment and protections of freedom of the press.
The subject matter for Nobody Speaks just gives and gives: Best friends named Bubba, late-night TV jokes, salivating social media, shadowy Silicon Valley billionaires; it has all the makings for something as puerile and titillating as a Howard Stern show. But filmmaker Knappenberger respectfully sidesteps all that mess and gets to the core of the matter: A commentary on the debased level of contemporary society, a discussion about the legal ramifications to the First Amendment and, ultimately, ringing the alarm bells about the threats to journalism.
Gawker may have been (and, we need to use the past-tense, as the lawsuit bankrupted them) a tabloid and Hulk Hogan essentially a cartoon character, but the legal matters at stake are very real—and, again, the film treats them with the seriousness they deserve, and yet with engaging voices, like NPR’s David Folkenflik and NYU professor Jay Rosen.
It is a must-see, a film that brings into focus an American culture that consists of sex tapes, celebrity fascination, threats to press freedoms and, yes, Donald Trump. That is to say, our current world.
Sat 12:30 pm at Armory