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Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
TBC
Cast
Haskell Wexler
Peter Bart
Jane Fonda
Julia Roberts
Mark S Wexler.
Directors
Mark S Wexler.
Screenwriters
Mark S Wexler
Robert De Maio.
Running Time
TBC minutes

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Tell Them Who You Are
Mark Wexler turns the camera on his cinematographer dad.


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Plot
Photojournalist Mark Wexler attempts to produce a portrait of his 80 year-old father, Haskell, only to come up continuously against the veteran cinematographer’s reputation, radicalism and refusal either to compromise or to accept his son’s conservatism, and his inability to meet his exacting personal, professional and political standards.


Review

As an angry young man, Haskell Wexler co-published a magazine entitled Against Everything. He has scarcely mellowed since, much to the chagrin of his son, Mark, who tried to follow in his father’s artistic footsteps while marching in completely the opposite political direction. However, it’s much easier to sympathise with the over-achieving father than the self-pitying offspring.
 
Haskell won Oscars for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and Bound For Glory (1976), while his ’69 directorial debut, Medium Cool, is one of America’s landmark anti-establishment movies. He also accompanied Jane Fonda on her notorious mission to North Vietnam in 1974, and Fonda is interviewed here. Interestingly, while admiring his passion, she recognises in Haskell the same mistrust of intimacy that blighted her relationship with her own famous father, Henry.
 
However, Mark is so wrapped up in his own grievances that he fails to exploit these fascinatingly recurrent facets of so many Hollywood dynastic feuds. Consequently, he makes the mistake of trying to take on Haskell at his own game, and winds up having the limits of his talent exposed, as well as his insecurities.


Verdict
A desperately sad look at two men whose determination to rebel against their heritage and succeed in their artform has rendered them unable to communicate. Compelling stuff, though.


Reviewed by David Parkinson

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Empire Star Rating

Stirring stuff

Haskell Wexler was cinematographers for a number of amazing Hollywood films. ("Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and "Bound for Glory." Other nominations came for "Matewan" and "Blaze." He was also nominated for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" along with Bill Butler, because Wexler was fired during the shoot.) It's clear fairly quickly into this documentary why that would happen. The film isn't a sycophantic documentary about a great cinematogr... More

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Posted by Benjaminbrum at 16:24, 23 March 2007 | Report This Post


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