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John Cassellis is the toughest TV-news reporter around. His area of interest is reporting about violence in the ghetto and racial tensions. But he discovers that his network helps the FBI by letting it look at his tapes to find suspects. When he protests, he is fired and goes to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. Written by
The main character was originally called "John Cassavetes" and was in fact going to be played by actor-director John Cassavetes. When he withdrew from the film due to a scheduling conflict, the character's name was changed to "John Cassellis" and Robert Forster was cast in the role. See more »
Movies have a way of capturing the moment better than recreating it. I can only dread what a recreated 1968 in Chicago would look like from a Hollywood perspective. It would probably resemble something out of Forrest Gump. But Medium Cool happened to capture some brutal fight scenes with police in Chicago as well as scenes from the black ghettos. You can't recreate this stuff. This isn't a documentary but cinema verité and combines fiction and non-fictional elements. It's all shot with Chicago of 68 in the background. A landmark and infamous year for the US with the assassinations of RFK and MLK as well as the 1968 Democratic National Convention which was met with severe state repression. The state wasn't negotiating at this time, it was brutally sending men off to war and attacking those at home with the hired goons of the police force.
It's a great movie which manages to combine fiction and non-fiction and shows us what the sixties were really like. It wasn't all love beads and LSD, although there is an amusing psychedelic sequence which takes place in a club.
I think what I liked most was that even people who were non-political were being dragged into the politics of the time. Events were that serious at the time and people had to begin picking sides, the pleasant, white, middle-class interior of the Chicago DNC or outside fighting and raging against the police.
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