It’s election week! In this episode we start with a modern classic of American nonfiction cinema, D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus’s The War Room. We talk about the extraordinary access that the filmmakers had to the inner workings of the Bill Clinton 1992 presidential campaign, and whether such a thing would even be possible today. James Carville and George Stephanopoulos became some of the most memorable nonfiction characters of the 1990s with this film, and we discuss why that might be. The War Room also inevitably leads to conversation about other political documentaries, like Street Fight and Primary.
Then we turn to a new release, A.J. Schnack’s Caucus. Character continues to be the focus, though the slate of Republican candidates in the 2012 Iowa Caucuses is a bit wilder than the cast of characters in The War Room. We talk about some of the film’s best moments, and how well it balances the many, many candidates of last year’s Republican primary process. It is in many ways a film about awkwardness, focusing on politicians who have trouble relating to real people, and the rise of one candidate who seems more human than the rest. Finally, we touch on Schnack’s arguably apolitical style, and Dan wonders whether there might be an “American roots” style of documentary filmmaking.
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Watch the Films:
Where to catch Caucus in theaters
The War Room on Hulu
Damn! Is the Price of Fame Too High? on Amazon Instant
Street Fight on Hulu
Al Franken — God Spoke on DVD