The Yes Men

Put together by The Yes Men crowd/group of friends/collective, the film tells the story of a group of activists who set up a website mimicking the World Trade Organization’s in order to slam the organization’s policies. It is, however, mistaken for the real thing, and they soon find themselves invited to major functions as WTO representatives. The group cooks up a series of ‘presentations’ on trade and labour conditions ‘on behalf of’ the WTO and take them off to international conferences, where they submit various ‘proposals’ to their audiences – proposals such as fitting out workers with outré bodysuits as a means of tracking them continuously during production; and introducing the ‘re-burger’ project to feed the hungry in poor nations more cheaply. Corporate directors and economic bureaucrats listen all ears; reputable magazines publish news stories on the presentations. And the whole lot is packaged in the form of ‘new means, new solutions from the WTO’. What would happen if we reduced the lives of billions to a simple mathematical sum through the ‘universal’ language of numbers? What would happen to us if we believed the most elementary human needs could be resolved on paper with graphics, PowerPoint presentations and statistics, through the most mind bending propositions? Who could we convince if we broadcast this kind of information as an international organization and with the confidence that implied our spiel offered the most rational of solutions? The Yes Men raises these questions one after the other. The film illustrates how authorized decision makers were taken in by the fake WTO proposals, how they applauded them and found nothing strange or untoward in the palaver they were fed. It is still easier to believe in the presence of all-powerful organizations which know answer to everything. The more difficult thing, however, is to sense that what you’re listening to is nonsense and to voice your suspicions under this ideological siege! Yet as The Yes Men


Chris Smith

Chris Smith
Dan Ollman

Dan Ollman

Chris Smith

Audience Award IDFA

15th Festival on Wheels