Review: One Peace at a Time DVD

One Peace at a Time DVD boxSTUDIO: Monterey | DIRECTOR: Turk Pipkin | CAST: Willie Nelson, Steve Chu, Desmond Tutu, Muhammad Yunus
RELEASE DATE: 4/13/2010 | PRICE: DVD $19.95
BONUSES: featurettes on cooperating non-profit organizations
SPECS: NR | 83 min. | Documentary | 16:9 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

One Peace at a Time documentary sceneThe title One Peace at a Time is a pun spun from a joke told on camera by none other than Bishop Desmond Tutu. When actor/documentarian Turk Pipkin asks Tutu for advice on how to fix really big problems, he replies that the way to eat an elephant is “one piece at a time.” And that’s what Pipkin spends these 83 minutes of film exploring — ways of fixing the really big mess that is the world at this present moment.

Texan Pipkin takes his digital cameras into slums and ghettos around the world — India, Thailand, Ethiopia — to look for glimmers of hope in the places of greatest neglect. He finds it, and he relates the testimony of several Nobel Prize winners clearly enough. But saving the world is, you have to admit, a daunting process at best. So the straight-talking Pipkin boils it down so we can understand it: Make water, food and health care available for every child, and they will learn. More than that, we should celebrate cultures that emphasize family and communal relationships instead of vying for individualism.

And who should ride up on a black horse to underscore the sentiment but Willie Nelson, who adds a low-key plug for family farmers while playing a game of chess with Pipkin.

The entertainment quotient of the movie is elevated by spot-on music by The Band, Bob Dylan, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson and Cat Stevens, among others.

Is One Peace at a Time going to change the world? No, but it succeeds in helping create the mindset that there are solutions — and people — to make it happen.

The best bonus on the DVD is the startlingly emotional featurette “Wings” about the Wheels for Humanity organization, which delivers wheelchairs to some godforsaken outback where the recipients are in self-motion for the first time in their lives.

 

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About Buzz

Buzz McClain reviews DVDs for Playboy magazine and is a former critic for Video Business magazine. But what he really wants to do is direct.