Jeff Bezos is not only one of the richest men in the world; he has built a business empire that is without precedent in the history of American capitalism. His power to shape everything from the future of work to the future of commerce to the future of technology is unrivaled.
As politicians and regulators around the world continue to consider the global impact of Amazon — and how to rein in Bezos’ power — FRONTLINE investigates how he executed a plan to build one of the most influential economic and cultural forces in the world.
“Amazon Empire: The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos” premieres February 18 on PBS.
New Zealand filmmaker Justin Pemberton had just finished a documentary for a local TV station about the problem of income inequality when French economist Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” a book detailing the wealth inequality of two centuries of capitalism, became a runaway hit.
Pemberton, who had long had a passion for economics, politics, and psychology dove right into the book. “I was fascinated by the massive time horizon,” he says.
“Capital” tells the story of money and wealth from the 18th century to the present, detailing revolutions, depressions, and wars—and piercing the widely accepted view that the accumulation of capital and social progress are intertwined.
Practically unheard of for an economics book, “Capital” hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list in 2014, selling millions of copies.
Piketty, himself a film buff, wanted to do a popular culture version of the book, and several producers were pitching for the rights. Eventually, Piketty chose New Zealand producer Matthew Metcalfe, and Pemberton was hired as the director.
Piketty liked the idea of the story of European and American capital being told by “outsiders, people from the bottom of the world,” said Pemberton.
“Capital in the Twenty-First Century” opens in theaters in April 2020.
Alex Gibney has created another David vs. Goliath tale in “Citizen K.”
The acclaimed filmmaker’s “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” dealt with the massive self-combustion of the titular corrupt corporation. Gibney scrutinized the U.S. military’s interrogation practices during the war in Afghanistan in “Taxi to the Dark Side.” He revealed the machinations behind Scientology in the mesmerizing “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.”
With “Citizen K,” Gibney focuses his attention on the ongoing battle between two major Goliaths: Russian President Vladimir Putin and oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Gibney traces the rise and fall – and a Phoenix-like reemergence – of Khodorkovsky, once the wealthiest man in Russia, now an unlikely martyr for the anti-Putin movement. The result is a supremely entertaining documentary that sheds light on a tumultuous period in Russia’s history.
“Citizen K” will be released in Los Angeles on November 22 and will expand to other cities in early 2020. Following its North American theatrical release, the documentary will be available worldwide on Amazon Prime.