Watch Haskell Wexler Talk the Origins of ‘Medium Cool’

Yesterday, we urged you to get excited for the Criterion Collection’s release of Haskell Wexler’s incredible 1969 political film Medium Cool. "I think I’d die if I couldn’t shoot," says Wexler, who prior to his directorial debut had already solidified himself as a brilliant cinematographer— as the man behind the camera for Heat of the Night and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. 

And with a new excerpt from an interview with Wexler for Criterion, he talks about the beginnings of Medium Cool and where the legendary and brilliant Peter Bart played a role in him taking to the first steps towrds directing. He goes on to talk about his own political activism and how the social and political unrest of the time between war, civil rights, etc. informed his film that works as a snapshot of a pocket of history embroiled in turmoil but also rich in fantastic films. 
 
In his essay "Medium Cool: Preserving Disorder," Thomas Beard says of the film:
And while Medium Cool endures as a complex and revealing chronicle of a turbulent age, it feels especially relevant to a contemporary situation as well. Just as the film pulses backward and forward in time, it’s difficult to think of that summer in Chicago without also conjuring up images of the Occupy movement (one of Wexler’s most recent documentary subjects). Both episodes in our country’s history involved the theatricalization of social crisis; the former was catalyzed by television, the latter by viral videos and hashtags. Yet while the terms of representation have evolved significantly between these two eras, newer technologies likewise have their limits. Any number of public earnings reports can readily prove the ability of television and Facebook, of media old and new, to deliver us to advertisers—but it remains uncertain and unlikely that they will be able to deliver us otherwise, to set us free.
Watch Wexler talk Medium Cool below.

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