The Corporation (2004) is a leisurely, grimly entertaining and not entirely hopeless disquisition on the nature of corporations. A 19th-century loophole in American jurisprudence made the business corporation legally a "person," and in this era of privatization, globalization and the unfettered reign of the free market, the corporation has become today's most dominant institution. Since the corporation has all the legal rights of a person, this film suggests it should be judged as one. The film concludes that the corporate model, based on its motives and actions, is dangerously psychopathic, without guilt, pity or remorse.
Corporations have succeeded in patenting new life forms and privatizing rainwater in Bolivia. One corporate advisor claims that the ultimate goal of capitalism is to have someone - preferably a corporation - own every square inch of the planet. The film is hard-hitting, but not hectoring. There are a dozen "chapters" with a variety of eloquent "witnesses," including Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Noam Chomsky and Nobel-Prize-Winning economist Milton Friedman. Directors Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott are filmmakers with a specific interest in the environment, the ecology and globalization. The film is based on a book on corporate structures written by lawyer Joel Balkan and bluntly subtitled The Pathological Pursuit of Profit.
The Corporation charts the spectacular rise of an institution aimed at achieving specific economic goals, but also recounts victories against the apparently invincible force. It is, to date, the highest-grossing Canadian DOCUMENTARY at the domestic box-office and won top audience awards at the Toronto, Vancouver and Sundance film festivals. It also won the 2005 Genie Award for Best Documentary and a prestigious Independent Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam Special Jury Award.