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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 »
Superb integration of the political and social aspects inherent in the film medium.
Haskell Wexler's film generated much debate on just where American Cinema was headed upon its release in 1969. Its narrative revolves loosely around the relationship of a TV cameraman and a lower-class widow living in Chicago during the summer of 1968. The true focus of the film is on the Democratic National Convention and its devastating effects on that city during the "long hot summer" it was subjected to. With the care of an expert social journalist Wexler films the riot caused by the civil authority in that city with an unfaltering naturalism that Soviet Realists would kill for. His cinematographic gifts are never called into question as he edits the body of the film with patches of documentary and staged scenes. It's to the credit of the filmmaker that in one section a fellow cameraman has to admonish him as to the danger he is apparently embroiled in as he shoots a sequence. This wonderful play on the reflexivity so rarely admitted in film is reason enough to give this challenging but brilliant work of art a chance to leave its mark on you.
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