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Who Bombed Judi Bari?

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A documentary about Judi Bari vs. the FBI, her advocacy for both ancient redwoods and timber workers, her death-bed deposition, and the successful court ruling for justice and vindication. “Who Bombed Judi Bari?” profiles the late, legendary labor and forest organizer and her struggle with FBI’s attempted frame-up after she and Darryl Cherney were car-bombed in Oakland, CA  in 1990 while on college tour to save the redwood forest of northern California. Despite receiving death threats, the pair was instantly arrested by the FBI and Oakland Police for bombing themselves. They sued the authorities for violations of the constitution. Eventually, they would win a $4 million award in this historic case. In 2014, Cherney continues his investigation of the bombing, collecting DNA, fingerprints and offering a reward for information on the case.
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Description

“Who Bombed Judi Bari?” profiles the late, legendary labor and forest organizer Judi Bari and her struggle with FBI defamation after she and Darryl Cherney were car-bombed in Oakland in 1990 while on college tour to save the redwood forest of northern California. Despite receiving death threats, the pair was instantly arrested by the FBI and Oakland Police for bombing themselves. They sued the authorities for violations of the first and fourth amendments of the US Constitution. Eventually, they would be awarded $4 million following this historic trial.
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In 1997, and just 30 days before her death from breast cancer, Bari, weak though defiant, gave a deposition for the civil rights lawsuit that she and Cherney filed against FBI agents and the Oakland Police. Charges included violations of their freedom of speech as well as false arrest and illegal search and seizure. The criminal case against Bari and Cherney was dropped due to lack of evidence. The deposition and rare video footage from rallies and protests throughout a decade provide a backdrop for the entire film in which Bari is posthumous narrator.

The film is composed of archival footage, including appearances by Bonnie Raitt, Woody Harrelson, Jerry Brown, Julia Butterfly, David Grisman and David Brower.

This suspenseful yet uplifting story is about people who risked their lives to save the California redwoods and took on the FBI for impeding their freedom of speech. It shines a light on an monumental protest movement that succeeded against all odds – with creativity, music, and humor.

Judi Bari’s greatest speech in front of 5000 supporters culminated with the largest civil disobedience for the forest in U.S. history -1033 people arrested in support of Headwaters Forest.

In 2014, Cherney continues his investigation of the bombing, collecting DNA, fingerprints and offering a reward for information on the case.

CREDITS

Director / Editor: Mary Liz Thomson
Producer: Darryl Cherney
Executive Producer: Elyse Katz
Executive Producer: Sheila Laffey
Co-Producer: Bill Benenson
Co-Producer: Laurie Benenson

 2012 | 93 mins

Additional information

Weight N/A
Dimensions 9 x 6 x 0.5 in
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Reviews

  1. The film, produced by Cherney, makes a clear and cogent case (later upheld by a court verdict) that police and FBI falsified evidence in order to discredit Bari’s cause.
    Ronnie Scheib
    Variety

    While Thomson’s unabashedly admiring tone too often turns the film into an outright tribute, she does present enough evidence to suggest that Bari, who died in 1997, deserves one.
    Elizabeth Weitzman
    New York Daily News

    A moving if sometimes overly exhaustive examination of the mystery behind the 1990 car bombing of environmental activists.
    Frank Scheck
    Hollywood Reporter

    Relies too much on rehash and preaching to the choir to kindle a broad-based outrage, but it does make you wonder what really happened on May 24, 1990.
    Neil Genzlinger
    New York Times

    Mary Liz Thomson’s tough and intriguingly well-told account of the fight between environmentalists and corporate raiders.
    Michelle Orange
    Village Voice

  2. WHO BOMBED JUDI BARI
    Video Librarian May 2014
    Reviewed by P. Hall

    On May 24, 1990 in Oakland, CA, a bomb exploded in a car carrying Earth First! activists Judi Bari and Darrly Cherney. Both survived, only to be arrested and charged with transporting explosives. The charges were dropped, but Bari and Cherney sued the FBI and the Oakland Police Department for falsifying evidence in their attempt to discredit the pair’s prominence within the environmental movement. Bari died from breast cancer in 1997, but before her passing she offered cogent testimony in a videotaped deposition as part of her civil lawsuit.

    Director Mary Liz Thomson’s Who Bombed Judi Bari?, which was produced by Cherney, relies heavily on other video depositions from the lawsuit as well as TV news coverage of the 1990 bombing and Bari’s activism prior to the ttack. Bari and Cherney’s style actually seemed like a throwback to the early 1960s brand of social protest: the duo used folk music to rouse attention and sought disparate to build links between seemingly disparate segments of American Society. Although Bari achieved posthumous vindication via her lawsuit, the mystery of who planted the bomb in the car was never resolved.

    Offering a stirring tribute to Bari’s life and her indefatigable spirit, this multifaceted documentary is highly recommended.

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