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Dixie Chicks: Shut up and sing - Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison, Cecilia Peck

Threat advisory: Guarded - General risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Freedom of speech is fine as long as you don't do it in public.

On stage at a 2003 London concert, Natalie Maines, lead singer of Texan trio the Dixie Chicks, spoke these 15 words to a small audience at the start of their sold-out international tour: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." The comment was delivered on the eve of the American invasion of Iraq, and drew cheers from the decidedly anti-war and anti-Bush British crowd. It was an off the cuff remark typical of the lead singer's temperament. Natalie and fellow Dixie Chicks Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, thought little of it. But history and this film demonstrate that at this heightened moment of political polarization in the United States, many people did care, and empowered this simple, yet loaded remark to carry serious and long-standing ramifications.

Dixie Chicks: Shut up and sing travels with the Chicks, from their peak of popularity as the national anthem-singing darlings of country music and top-selling female recording artists of all time, through the now infamous anti-Bush comment, and on through the days, months and years of mayhem. The film follows the lives and careers of the Chicks through the writing and recording of their first album since “the incident” - and three years of political attack, making music, birthing babies, bonding, death threats, and laughter. At the end, the film presents a complete reconsideration of who people think they are, who they want to be and who, ultimately, they really are as women, as public figures, and as musicians.

Theatrical propaganda posters

Dixie Chicks: Shut up and sing theatrical one sheet image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film documentary music President George W Bush politics concert Dixie Chicks

Persons of interest

  • Martie Maguire .... Herself
  • Natalie Maines .... Herself
  • Simon Renshaw .... Himself
  • Emily Robison .... Herself
  • Barbara Kopple .... Director
  • Cecilia Peck .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

If you could travel 100 years back in time and tell everyone what the seppos are like in the new millennium, no-one would believe you. Can any nation truly be this stupid? Sure, they elected George W Bush president. Twice. And Ronald Reagan. And George Bush. And... Oh hell, they just keep putting those idiots in the White House, don't they?

What's amazing, then, is that any of them can be embarrassed about it; that makes Shut up and sing something of a marvel. Mind you, Natalie Maines is not far from being a loud-mouth, redneck, white trash, Country & Western singer so it should've been obvious to anyone that anything could happen once she got a microphone in front of her. (I wouldn't want anyone to get the idea that I'm impressed by anything.) The funniest part of the film is the way America responds to Natalie's little brain fart. Protests, boycotts, death threats... so much for freedom of speech.

Like many people, I hadn't heard of the Dixie Chicks before this big bunfight and what struck me first is their name: any bunch of chicks who call themselves Chicks have a head-start on the rest of the Yanks. Fortunately, they're talented as well as opinionated (and loud) so it's all good. Dixie Chicks: Shut up and sing is a good way to meet the girls and their entourage, as well as prepping for your Dumb Yanks 101 exam.

USA: The country that brought you rednecks, white trash, trailer parks, Scientology, Country & Western, "Don't ask, don't tell", McDonald's and Ford motor cars.

The documentary, music movie Dixie Chicks: Shut up and sing is directed by Cecilia Peck and stars Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison.

Government security censorship classification

M (Moderate coarse language, moderate sexual references)

Surveillance time

93 minutes (1:33 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 26 July 2007 - Sydney
Film: 2 August 2007 - Melbourne
Film: 23 August 2007 - Perth

Cinema surveillance images

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