The struggle for civil rights has been one of the most important issues of American life for the last fifty years. In August of 1963, groups from all over the country journeyed to ... See full summary »
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 Criterion Collection has brought out a remastered, stunning 'Medium Cool'. America's answer to 'Cinema Verite'. Haskell Wexler's film could have been made yesterday, given the conditions in the US today. Although the technology of filming has changed drastically. In fact, given the success of 'Tangerine', it is easy to envision 'Medium Cool' shot exclusively on a Smartphone. Gone are the 40 pound cameras, the heavy television cameras set up at conventions, the one way voice boxes and the like. As Marshall McCluhan, the high priest and theorist of communication, posited: 'the medium is the message'. And Wexler took this guru's words to heart. We're in Chicago on the eve and during the infamous 1968 Democratic Convention. The story is half fiction half cinema truth, of a fun loving news photographer whose passion is the story and getting it right. Through his camera, we travel through the racial, economic and political stress and high drama of the times. (For good reporting, see Norman Mailer's 'Miami and the Siege of Chicago'). The 'hero' John Cassellis is shocked that his footage has been handed over by his employer to the FBI. So what else is new today? In scenes with blacks militants he is accused of being an undercover FBI agent, and they knew what they were talking about, for until then he was clueless. The world of the poor whites from the coal mines of West Virginia, the banter in the newsroom about the role of journalism. The spirit of the turbulent 60s has run out of steam but in some eddies here and there of on the fringe reporters, social media and streamed dailies or weeklies. And yet, documentaries are making a comeback, and showing the grim side of life and some moments of good works. Episodic as the film is, it is worth seeing, to see how everything old is new again
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