“Medium Cool encapsulates the divisive issues of race and poverty that remain as urgent today as they did in 1968 … In the film’s climax, the actors become dangerously caught up in the real Chicago riots. The effect is unforgettable. —The Guardian (UK)
In 1968, the US was experiencing social and political upheaval, and renowned cinematographer and filmmaker Haskell Wexler decided to make a film that plunged into the moment. Medium Cool follows a TV news camera operator experiencing an emotional and political awakening in Chicago during that tumultuous summer and the drama heats up when the protagonist covers the Democratic National Convention. Anticipating the protests, Wexler planned production around the event and shot footage for the climactic scenes in the midst of violent demonstrations. A masterful experiment mixing fiction and nonfiction, the film is a visceral snapshot of the era. Made with guidance from political activists of the day and Chicago-based broadcaster Studs Terkel; incidental music by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. 1969, 35mm, 111 min.
Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.