Medium Cool

Legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler’s (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Days of Heaven) directorial debut is one of the most radical experiments of ’60s new Hollywood and one of the finest films of the period. The film follows disillusioned news cameraman John Cassellis (Robert Forster) as he moves from careerist opportunities to political radicalization following the revelation that his company provides information to the FBI. As Cassellis prepares to film the famous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, he meets Eileen and her son Harold, and the trio’s fates converge around and within the very real riots at the convention. Merging exhilarating, often brutal documentary footage shot by Wexler with Cassellis’s story, “Medium Cool is a film remarkable for its insistence that no one exists outside of politics, whether one experiences it as a backdrop to daily life (a wrinkled Bobby Kennedy poster in a cramped apartment) or as a nightstick to the gut.”—Thomas Beard.

Appears in: Print the Legend

Genres: Drama