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Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool


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Wow. This is my review of this movie which I am currently in the middle of. How have I never heard of this one before? It is interesting on about 97 different levels. It is political with a big and small p at the same time. It directly references both assassinations, and in some ways the movie, though not ABOUT the assassinations, is an exploration of their impact. It is experimental but while still being in some way Hollywood picture, which makes it so interesting as a historic specimen.

It is set in Chicago in 1968. It was filmed in Chicago in 1969. This short time span makes it so interesting, because it seems at some moments like a week and at other moments like a hundred years. One has the sense one is watching American History turn a corner.

There is a chopped off piece of the Ambassador scene acted out probably only nine months after the shooting.

The movie mixes commentary on the media the assassination, and class warfare in a way that makes them seem inseparable.

It is directed by Haskell Wexler, who went on to become the cinematographer, who according to filmy people, is responsible for the Hollywood Renaissance of the 1970s. Watching this picture, you can see why Wexler is so respected.

In short, please rent this movie from Netflix immediately, or I shall have to resort to violence.

Edited by Nathaniel Heidenheimer
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Wow. This is my review of this movie which I am currently in the middle of. How have I never heard of this one before? It is interesting on about 97 different levels. It is political with a big and small p at the same time. It directly references both assassinations, and in some ways the movie, though not ABOUT the assassinations, is an exploration of their impact. It is experimental but while still being in some way Hollywood picture, which makes it so interesting as a historic specimen.

It is set in Chicago in 1968. It was filmed in Chicago in 1969. This short time span makes it so interesting, because it seems at some moments like a week and at other moments like a hundred years. One has the sense one is watching American History turn a corner.

There is a chopped off piece of the Ambassador scene acted out probably only nine months after the shooting.

The movie mixes commentary on the media the assassination, and class warfare in a way that makes them seem inseparable.

It is directed by Haskell Wexler, who went on to become the cinematographer, who according to filmy people, is responsible for the Hollywood Renaissance of the 1970s. Watching this picture, you can see why Wexler is so respected.

In short, please rent this movie from Netflix immediately, or I shall have to resort to violence.

I saw the film when it was first released. Unfortunately it is unavailable on DVD in the UK. Have you seen Tell Them Who You Are?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0420952/

This is a summary of the film on IMDB:

Mark Wexler's cinematic blend of biography and autobiography centers on his relationship with his father, legendary Oscar-winning cinematographer and filmmaker Haskell Wexler, whose long and illustrious career is a virtual catalogue of 20th-century classics. Haskell's collaborations with such world-class filmmakers as Elia Kazan, Milos Forman, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola and Mike Nichols include such works as WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, AMERICAN GRAFFITI, COMING HOME, BOUND FOR GLORY and ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST. The film features interviews with many of these artists, along with such luminaries as Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas and Sidney Poitier. But the true "star" of TELL THEM WHO YOU ARE is Haskell himself, a controversial, larger-than-life character who challenges his son's filmmaking skills while announcing with complete conviction that he could have done a better job directing most of the movies he's shot. As these two men swap positions on camera and behind it - sometimes shooting one another simultaneously - the film looks with honesty and compassion at their attempts to reconcile before it's too late.

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