Cinema Studies: REAL AND UNREAL: POLITICS ON FILM
Hollywood has always been fascinated by Washington, and vice versa. Moviemakers have turned their sights on politics and elections from the very beginnings of American cinema, and continue through this day. By looking at five films from different political and cinematic eras, three fictional and two documentaries, we can explore how moviemakers both depict and try to shape the political discussion. Professor Dale Pollock will lecture on the film being screened, exploring how and why it was made, and the themes and ideas the film will present. A focused discussion will follow immediately after the screening, concluding with a question and answer session.
In a 29-day shoot, Barry Levinson filmed this $15 million political and media satire, adapted by Hilary Henkin and David Mamet from Larry Beinhart’s novel, American Hero. Two weeks prior to re-election, the President (Michael Belson) is accused of cornering an underage girl in the Oval Office. To keep the media from learning of this, Presidential adviser Winifred Ames (Anne Heche) brings in political consultant and spin doctor Conrad Brean (Robert De Niro), a specialist in such salvage operations. Brean suggests fabricating denials of non-existent emergencies — such as denials about the B-3 bomber. The denial, of course, is true, since no B-3 bomber exists. Brean visits the mansion of Hollywood producer Stanley Motss (Dustin Hoffman) and gives him the assignment to create a patriotic campaign centered around a war in Albania. Motss assembles a creative team — Liz Butsky (Andrea Martin), the trend-setter Fad King (Denis Leary), and songwriter Johnny Green (Willie Nelson). Treated like an ad campaign, the songs and symbols are transmitted directly from a Hollywood soundstage to CNN. The star of their campaign is a “rescued” pilot — in reality, a psychotic military prisoner (Woody Harrelson), who’s a ticking time bomb. The flag-waving song, “The American Dream” was written for the film by Tom Bahler (who co-wrote “We Are the World”). Beinhart’s original novel involved a real President (Bush), a real war (the Gulf War), and the premise that George Bush and Saddam Hussein staged it. (allmovie.com)
Will call tickets may be picked up at The Cary Box Office beginning one hour prior to the movie.