TRAILER | Tidskriften Film Comment har träffat Brian Frye och Penny Lane för att diskutera deras film Our Nixon.
Genevieve Yue intervjuade för tidskriftens blogg.
The footage that comprises Brian Frye and Penny Lane’s Our Nixon, over 500 reels of Super 8 film shot by H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and Dwight Chapin, Richard Nixon’s closest advisors […]
In essence, Our Nixon is a film made from outtakes, amateur footage that, like the home movies of the time, is blurry, badly composed, handheld, and shaky. Like the audio diary that Haldeman kept every night, dutifully and dully recording the day’s proceedings, these films are exceedingly banal. Against the high-stakes political theater of Watergate, seen in television news clips of that era, we see shots of a squirrel nibbling a nut or rows of tiny houses seen from an airplane window. Nixon, when he appears, is often shot at a distance, obscured, or from the back; there are also many hasty zooms into his signature two-fingered salute. In the hazy, beveled Super 8 frame, we see life at the White House as it was remarkably unaware. It’s unthinkable, now, that a presidential administration would allow itself to appear this unpolished. And to an extent, the grainy patina of the Super 8 footage shot by these three young, idiosyncratic, and idealistic young men invites a sense of nostalgia, a vision of a simpler time. If anything, however, Our Nixon deepens and multiplies the grooves in the historical record. Far from simple, the time it constructs appears richer, murkier, and all the more complex.
Genevieve Yue: It’s stunning how these men who are sophisticated or savvy (in the sense that Haldeman and Chapin at least were ad men) were not thinking about managing the image, at least from this perspective.
Brian Frye: This area was just thought as being essentially private, so I don’t think that there was a sense at the time that there was any image really to manage. Nixon’s assumption was that they were his personal property, and that he would be able to selectively release only the material that he wanted to. That was a totally justified assumption because in fact that was the treatment of presidential material prior to Nixon.
Penny Lane: People don’t realize it, but Johnson had tapes, JFK had tapes. But they didn’t have them confiscated and made 100 percent public domain like Nixon did. Because of what happened and because of their actions, now we all get to do whatever we want with it.
Övrigt: Klicka här för att se tre klipp som använt sig av i filmen.