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America's In Real Trouble

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Film Identifier: F.2013-08-0030
Run Time
0h 16m 9s
Date Produced
A cynical look at America's might, both military and civilian, to the tune of pop songs, filmed at Chicago's Memorial Day parade.
This experimental documentary begins with footage of architectural structures in Chicago; residents in dilapidated buildings looking out onto the lavish Memorial Day parade taking place outside their windows. The scenes immediately following this are humorous depictions of children sleepily waving flags, baton twirlers dropping their batons, and signs in the parade floats celebrating sanitation, e.g. “Sanitation is a way of life” next to a giant trash can. 
The film features footage of the Walgreens on State Street in Downtown Chicago, as well as the Abraham Lincoln Head of State monument in Grant Park. 

Simultaneously satirical and earnest, America is in Real Trouble is emblematic of the political, activist filmmaking that galvanized many independent and underground filmmakers in the 1960s and '70s. Palazzolo vividly captures the streets of Chicago as its citizens take part in a Memorial Day parade, featuring green berets, baton twirlers, and lavish floats, all in celebration of the nation’s military and in a show of support for the war in Vietnam. The sonic backdrop begins with dry narration of the country’s “state of affairs,” but then moves on to include songs by the Shangri-Las, Sargent Barry Sadler’s novelty hit from 1966 "Ballad of the Green Beret," as well as notable protest songs from the era. 
Main Credits
Palazzolo, Tom (is filmmaker)
Related Place
Chicago (represents)