Part of Spirit of '69.
Wed, Jul 3, 8:00pm: Introduction from Jesse Montgomery, PhD candidate in English at Vanderbilt University and author of the forthcoming dissertation "Hillbilly Radicals: Young Patriots, Black Panthers, and the Battle For Uptown, Chicago". BUY TICKETS
John Cassellis (Robert Forster) is a hardened TV news cameraman who manages to keep his distance while he captures daring footage of a nation in the throes of violent change. He maintains that professional detachment when he covers the social unrest in Chicago surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention. But, when he discovers that the TV network has been quietly cooperating with the FBI, the enraged Cassellis realizes that he too must join the fight against the establishment.
35mm print courtesy of Academy Film Archive
“Five years ago, this film would have been considered incomprehensible to the general movie audience. Now it's going into a big first-run house, and you don't hear the Loop exhibitors talking so scornfully about ‘art films’ anymore. So what's going on when an experimental, radical film like MEDIUM COOL can get this sort of exposure? What's happened, I think, is that movie makers have at last figured out how bright the average moviegoer is. By that I don't mean they're making more ‘intelligent’ pictures. I mean they understand how quickly we can catch onto things.” —Roger Ebert, rogerbert.com (Sep 1969) “An angry, technically brilliant movie that uses some of the real events of last year the way other movies use real places—as backgrounds that are extensions of the fictional characters…. The result is a film of tremendous visual impact, a kind of cinematic "Guernica," a picture of America in the process of exploding into fragmented bits of hostility, suspicion, fear and violence.” —Vincent Canby, New York Times (Aug 1969) “There is no more valuable time capsule of urban, radicalized America in the late Sixties than Wexler’s…personal account of a cameraman who documents the lives of marginalized people…incorporating Neorealism and documentary techniques into one of the era’s defining hybrids.” —Steven Mears, Film Comment
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