The 1992 presidential election was a triumph not only for Bill Clinton but also for the new breed of strategists who guided him to the White House and changed the face of politics in the process. For this thrilling, behind-closed-doors account of that campaign, renowned cinema verité filmmakers D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus closely followed the brainstorming and bull sessions of Clinton’s crack team of consultants—especially the folksy James Carville and the preppy George Stephanopoulos, who became media stars in their own right as they injected a youthful spirit and spontaneity into the process of campaigning. Fleet-footed and entertaining, The War Room is a vivid document of a political moment whose truths (“It’s the economy, stupid!”) still ring in our ears. –The Criterion Collection
One of the founding fathers of “direct cinema”, American filmmaker’s adopted name of choice for “cinema verite”, and perhaps its best known practitioner during the 1960s and early 70s, Pennebaker helped construct a style of storytelling and an attitude toward his subjects (often political figures or entertainers) that influenced a generation of nonfiction filmmakers. He is a proponent of a cinema which favors the filming reality in as unobtrusive a manner as possible, usually without narration.
This former engineer, advertising copywriter and painter began making films in the early 50s after falling under the influence of experimental filmmaker Francis Thompson. Pennebaker’s first film, “Daybreak Express” (1953), combined his documentary and experimental impulses in a five-minute portrait of the soon-to-be-demolished Third Avenue elevated subway in NYC set to Duke Ellington’s music. Pennebaker later established himself as a member of Drew Associates, which included major documentarians… read more
This film got me fired up about politics in a way that I have not been in quite some time. Am I too realistic? Cynical? Disillusioned by failed policies of the man elected in this film? Regardless, I found myself swept up in the politics as a sort of game - and I can understand how these professional politicians become involved looking to change the system, only to find that they are ultimately the ones who change.
Great behind the scenes look but certainly doesn't help the uninitiated. Didn't see any of the genius that has been discussed regarding this campaign team, and not having any exposure to campaign teams before and after this one, I had no idea what it is that they changed. I'm sure its stunning for those in the know. Really wish I was.