Impressionistic fiction features seemed to be Léa Pool’s forte, especially in a movie like 1999’s “Set Me Free,” an image-driven story about a teen tomboy in thrall to the image of Anna Karina in 1963. But “Pink Ribbons, Inc.,” a raw, angry, bursting-to-overflow agitprop essay-slash-exposé detailing the exploitation of breast cancer charity to corporate ends, or “cause-related marketing,” shows a side of her passions of no fewer valors. What lies behind this “tyranny of cheerfulness,” or what interviewee Barbara Ehrenreich calls the “breast cancer culture”? Profit, wouldn’t you know? A show of compassion, a march of compassion, corporate branding. One of her larger targets, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure group, had other setbacks in February, after the making of “Pink Ribbons, Inc.” over ethical concerns about concerted attempts to defund Planned Parenthood. There are a myriad of other topics in Pool’s busy checklist of concerns, but “Pink Ribbons, Inc.,” based on a 2008 book by Samantha King, is a surefire conversation-starter, and, ideally, controversy-stirrer. It packs pink punch. 98m. HDCAM video. (Ray Pride)
“Pink Ribbons, Inc.” opens Friday at Siskel Film Center.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.