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7 06, 2017

Weiner (2016) — Dir. Elyse Steinberg & Josh Kriegman

By | 2017-06-18T21:51:23+00:00 June 7th, 2017|Categories: #7 POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS|Tags: , |0 Comments

© Weiner —Elyse Steinberg & Josh Kriegman/Motto Pictures

2016, 96 minutes

If there’s one thing the camera loves during election season, it’s to capture a scandal erupting full force, trapping a candidate and its entourage in the course of its unpredictable path. Surely, the drama unfolding in Weiner will satisfy any viewers craving for a classic sensationalist story, one which involves standards in the genre—sex, power, high profile…and a tragically comic last name, Wiener, a golden ticket for racy New York Post headlines.

A comeback story of sorts, Weiner is sadly not one of ultimate redemption. The film follows seven-time congressman Anthony Weiner returning to politics with the 2013 Democratic mayoral primary of New York City, two years after an embarrassing ‘dick pic’ had forced him to resign. Ridiculed in the media and with few supporters behind him, his chances to ever make it back to the front of the stage, and clear his name, were slim at best. But that was not counting on the man himself, a fighter unafraid to rumble for his personal and political beliefs, and whose fiercely passionate attitude had made him one of the upcoming stars of the Democratic Party in the first place.

Topping the polls once again despite all previous indications, Anthony Weiner was soon caught up in yet an other scandal involving lewd images sent to multiple women. Worse yet, the salacious texts and pictures were sent under the online alter-ego name of Carlos Danger, another golden treat for journalists in dire need of shocking headlines. Unpredictable in its course, catastrophic in its immediate effects, the tempest caused by the new revelations was one Weiner could not—and would not—recover from.

Directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg don’t shy away from the pain, noticeably present within all those who had dared to believe Weiner was a changed man. Looking at the footage of a man crushed by his own wrongdoings is cringeworthy at times, and the conversations between Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin—a top political strategist—are as uncomfortable as one might expect. Surely, Weiner makes us wonder why anyone would want to enter politics, let alone be filmed continuously when under such scrutiny by the court of public opinion.

7 06, 2017

Our Brand is Crisis (2005) — Dir. Rachel Boynton

By | 2017-06-20T19:49:47+00:00 June 7th, 2017|Categories: #7 POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS|Tags: , |0 Comments

© Our Brand is Crisis — Rachel Boynton/Koch Lorber Films

2005, 85 minutes

A riveting documentary that unfolds like a political thriller, Our Brand is Crisis captures the machinations of American political and branding consultants for hire during a 2002 election in Bolivia. For decades, U.S. strategists have worked for presidential candidates on every continent, spreading a brand of democracy across the world with more or less success. Our Brand is Crisis surely captured the latter, revealing the failure of the market-driven, neo-liberal policies to spread in a country crippled by poverty and disenchanted by the false promises of a better life.

7 06, 2017

Primary (1960) — Dir. Robert Drew

By | 2017-06-18T23:22:05+00:00 June 7th, 2017|Categories: #7 POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS|Tags: , |0 Comments

© Primary — Robert Drew

1960, 58 minutes

Rather than being a relic of the past, Primary—founding film of the political documentary subgenre—feels shockingly relevant with its vérité style of filmmaking, following candidates John F. Kennedy of Massachussets and Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota as they battle it out for the Democratic Party nomination. With no interview and no narration to structure the film, Primary leaves it to the images captured on screen to tell the story; a riveting tale of political mechanics, in between automated handshakes and galvanizing if not exasperating campaign anthems.

Shot with hand-held cameras and portable sound equipment, always close but never interfering with the action, Primary has transformed the nature of documentary filmmaking. Surely enough some members of the team assembled by Dir. Robert Drew—Richard Leacock, Albert Maysles and D. A. Pennebaker— would some become leading practitioners of the form.