In today’s Ketchup Cut we discuss Netflix’s movie that went on to win a number of accolades and one that’s based on true events, The Trial of the Chicago 7.

The only kind of stories that tend to make an impact in our lives and the way we think are the ones that are told based on real-life situations. Even though we love to witness more of these stories that talk about real-life heroes, there’s also the pressure on the part of the filmmakers to bring justice to the true event. Netflix’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 was able to talk about a historic trial in American history. Today, on Ketchup Cut we discuss a part of the movie.

About the movie:

Directed by – Aaron Sorkin
Written By – Aaron Sorkin
Cast – Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen, Daniel Flaherty, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, John Carroll Lynch, Eddie Redmayne, Noah Robbins, Mark Rylance, Alex Sharp, Jeremy Strong
Where to watchNetflix

About the movie – The Trial of the Chicago 7 is based on a group of activists who fought the law and ended up on a trial because of their protest. The activists traveled to Chicago to protest against the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. As their protest continued for four days with the Chicago police issuing a curfew leading to the protestants camping at night, the Chicago 7 (originally eight) faced federal charges of conspiracy and crossing state lines with the intent to start a riot.

Ketchup Cut:

What made this movie interesting was the fact that it was based on true events. It’s a true representation of people wanting the law to wake up. These people fought to change the present of thousands today and they exist today. Every scene in the movie creates an impact in telling us what happened during the protests and the trial. Although it is based on true events, the story has been slightly fictionalized. But the one that really stays with us is the debate between Hoffman and Hayden. We know that they were protesting for the same idea but the debate gave us a glimpse of how both saw and held two different ideologies. Their thinking differed from one another. Hayden has a different perspective about what Hoffman and his party stand for. Hayden looks at things more politically and finds Hoffman’s ways more aggressive and not traditional. The scene gives us a reason for the continued friction between the two. But Hoffman’s reply to Hayden’s reasoning may continue to make sense in every society no matter what part of the world we belong to. His response, “We’re not going to jail because of what we did, we’re going to jail because of who we are,” reminds you of every protest, atrocity, and injustice that the people of our country face even in current times and that’s why this movie has left such a mark. It also represents the ideological conflict that our former leaders may have with the youth in our country.

If there is another moment from the movie that needs attention, it may be the end. We see that the 7 have been writing down the names of every soldier they lost in the Vietnam war during the course of the trial. And when they finally get the chance to speak up, Hayden chooses to read out each and every name on the list rather than presenting anything else. The end may also seem a bit too flimsy but as the movie ends with ‘Hear My Voice’ playing in the background, it hits you right at the spot.

Fun Facts:

The Chicago 7 were originally The Chicago eight as Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale was initially one of the men charged.

Judge Hoffman ordered that Seale be restrained, both physically and audibly after he demanded his constitutional right.

The Chicago 7 were the first to be charged under the anti-rioting provision set out in Title X of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (more commonly known as the Anti-Riot Act) since it was signed into law.

Popular figures and social activists of that time came in defense of The Chicago 7.

The Youth International Party, more commonly known as the Yippies cofounded by Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin wore their own judges’ robes into the court. But when Judge Hoffman demanded they remove them they agreed and did the same only to reveal that they were wearing Chicago Police Department uniforms underneath.

More than 100 witnesses were called by the defense during the trial.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Golden Globe Awards: Won Best Director and Best Screenplay.
  • Screen Actors Guild Awards: Won Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
  • Critics’ Choice Award: Won Best Acting Ensemble, Best Editing
  • Hollywood Critics Association: Won Best Editing
  • San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle: Won Best Editing
  • Vancouver Film Critics Circle: Won Best Screenplay
  • AACTA International Awards: Best International Supporting Actor, Best International Screenplay
  • ACE Eddie Awards: Best Edited Feature Film
  • Alliance of Women Film Journalists: Best Picture and Best Ensemble Cast
  • American Film Institute Awards: Top 10 Movies of the Year
  • Artios Awards: Feature Big Budget – Drama
  • Golden Reel Awards: Outstanding Sound Editing – Dialogue / ADR – Feature Film
  • IGN Awards: Best Drama Movie
  • Satellite Awards: Best Film Editing

The film was also nominated for a number of awards including the Academy Awards. You can check out the complete list here.

Also Read: Ketchup Cut: Paava Kadhaigal, an anthology talking about honour and brutality