Medium Cool (1969)
Director: Haskell Wexler
Actors: Robert Forster, Verna Bloom, Peter Bonerz
Runtime: 111 min
A realistic movie centered around a TV cameraman and his relationship with a single working class mother, made in the social atmosphere of a mass political awakening and loss of trust in the legitimacy of the system. The focus of the movie are events in Chicago in the summer of 1968, when the police and national guard smashed up the protests during the national convention of the Democratic Party.
The film was made from the perspective of a TV cameraman and we together with him experience the contradictions of his work and social role – he’s at the same time a wage worker employed in the media industry, a communicator that shapes and sells media messages, and the victim of the media deception and manipulation.
Through the filmed stories that he makes, we travel with him through the contradictions of the society in which he lives: from the training and systematic indoctrination of young men in the National Guard to break up riots and crackdown on protesters, to discussions in the black ghetto where he meets racially and class conscious people who deconstruct racial relations and media stereotypes, flip every sentence and question established phrases. The dialogue and scenes carefully build-up the atmosphere of disillusionment.
Raw documentary footage recorded during the culmination of the “hot summer” of 1968 in Chicago creates the impression that the system may never even had legitimacy, for it has always been maintained through manipulation, repression and brute force. Based on actual events.
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