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||IMDB Rating: 6.2/10 from 34 votes
||Release: 16 October 2012 (UK) /
||Director: Michael Chanan,
||Synopsis: London and the City of London are not the same place. London is a metropolis of 8 million people. The City of London is the famous square mile in the middle, with about 7,000 residents but many more businesses. A Corporation older than Parliament, the City of London has played a key historical role in protecting and promoting the interests of finance capital. Secret City investigates the power wielded by the Corporation of London over British economic policy, through which it sustains London's prime position at the hub of global finance capital - not least through control of the majority of the world's tax havens. The film exposes the Corporation's anti-democratic constitution, the ancient laws which allow it function as a state within a state, and thus to promote an illusory promise of economic growth at the cost of the real economy. Secret City questions the Corporation's role through contributions from Londoners, including scholars, an MP, a businessman, Church people and activists... Written by Lee Salter
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There are some films that make you angry because they tell you things
you didn't know and make you feel that you've been cheated - this is
one of them.
I'd heard of the Corporation of London but only in street signs. To
find out that they're a centre for tax avoidance, they have people in
Parliament and their role in causing the financial crisis made me
furious and eager to find out more.
The film has a really useful historical contextualisation for the first
part, using a wide range of interesting interviewees whilst weaving in
a tour of the city and plenty of really good archive footage. It leave
you in no doubt as to where the City's power is derived from
The human-interest angle is explained by "victims" of the Corporation
whose attempts simply to be democratic were thwarted as well as by
reflections of Vicars (yes, really - some of the most interesting
characters in the film), workers and of course the human impact of the
There were one or two problems with camera focus on occasion but then
if it's true (as I heard at a Q&A) that it was done with no money at
all, I can forgive them that as it fits with the aesthetics of radical
documentary anyway. The music is sufficiently haunting to stay with you
for a few days, which is a great effect.
It's a really complex film in many respects, which means I had to watch
it more than once to really understand but I'd recommend it really
highly to anyone who wants to really understand what's going on in the
world and why!
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