In 1968, cinematographer Haskell Wexler was inspired to make a film reflecting the tumultuous sociopolitical climate in America. With a background in cinema verité documentaries, he wrote a script blending fiction and reality, critiquing media exploitation and racial injustice. Shooting guerilla-style on the streets of Chicago, Wexler captured the chaos of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Medium Cool premiered in 1969 to critical acclaim for its edgy, timely social commentary. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue the 1969 National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Cinematography Nominees series for our September member bonus episoe with a conversation about Wexler’s 1969 film Medium Cool.
Here’s a hint at what we talk about.
We have an in-depth discussion about Haskell Wexler’s groundbreaking cinematography in Medium Cool, analyzing his pioneering mix of fiction and documentary styles and his immersive “in the action” camerawork. We also examine how the film loses some focus in the third act as it shifts to cameraman John helping Eileen find her missing son amidst the 1968 Chicago riots.
Here are a few other points:
- Wexler’s cinema verité visual approach as cinematographer-turned-director
- Capturing the chaos and energy of the ’68 Democratic National Convention
- Performances from Robert Forster and Verna Bloom
- Critiquing media ethics and racial tensions of the era
- Comparison to later films like Network that built on its media commentary
With its bold, guerilla filmmaking style and timely social commentary, Medium Cool stands out as an influential film that still resonates today. We have a great time talking about it, so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!
This is a member bonus episode. We’d love it if you became a member to support our show, but you’d love it because of everything you get. We have monthly member bonus episodes that only members can access. You also get other monthly member bonus episodes, access to members-only Discord channels, and early releases for every episode. Plus, no ads! And you get to vote on the movies we discuss in our members only episodes! What can we say? It pays to be a member. Learn more about supporting The Next Reel Film Podcast through your own membership — visit TruStory FM