Medium Cool

Screening on Film
Directed by Haskell Wexler.
With Robert Forster, Verna Bloom, Peter Bonerz.
US, 1970, 35mm, color, 110 min.

The directorial debut of veteran cinematographer Haskell Wexler, Medium Cool is a landmark independent production that makes canny use of documentary techniques in constructing a fiction feature. Set in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention, the narrative focuses on a television cameraman who becomes personally involved with the people and stories he covers, including a black cabbie, a single mother from Appalachia, and a group of protesters who clash with police outside the convention hall. Designed as a “wedding between features and cinema verité,” Wexler’s attempt to smuggle political reality into a theatrical tale faced significant challenges from distributors, critics and censors, but has survived as an important witness to its times.

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