Medium Cool is the 1969 film by Haskell Wexler that takes place during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. It was one of the first films in the United States to import the stylings of the cinema verité movement from France, which prioritized realism in cinema.
Medium Cool was not only realistic, but much of what we see on screen is actually real. Scenes were shot inside the actual convention hall as the 1968 DNC was taking place, out on the streets of Chicago during the actual riots, and during an actual Frank Zappa concert, just to name a few examples.
A landmark in political cinema, a genre-bending exercise in storytelling, and an enduring document of one of America’s most volatile times, Medium Cool was a game changer in more ways than one.
We discuss the film on the latest episode of Dissident Film Club. Click the player below to hear our full conversation:
Photo: Medium Cool