In my estimation, every free-thinking man and woman has a right to become utterly disillusioned with the state of humanity from time to time. A week or so out from Election Day seems like a particularly appropriate occasion. "Surviving Progress," a 2011 documentary by Mathieu Roy and Harold Crows, is an apt film for someone going through one of these jags of cynicism. The directors delve into so-called "progress traps," examining, as a website for the film puts it, how "alluring technologies serve immediate needs, but ransom the future." Inspired by the best-seller "A Short History of Progress" and drawing on interviews with intellectuals, scientists and economists, the documentary asks whether or not the evolutionary jump from ape to human is just an inevitable dead-end after all.
- ALEX NUNES