Medium Cool

Medium Cool

Haskell Wexler

  • 1969
  • USA
  • Drama
  • 1h51mn
  • Original version with French subtitles
  • Color
As dissent grows around the 1968 Democratic National Convention; a TV reporter, more concerned by scoops than by the victims’ suffering; suddenly discovers his moral and political conscience when he realizes his images are hijacked by the FBI for repressive purposes.
An innovative director of photography (Bound for Glory, The Thomas Crown Affair), a subversive documentarist (Brazil : A Report on Torture), Haskell Wexler, in the stunning Medium Cool, mixes fact and fiction, using a virtuoso contrivance that captures the pulse of a nation in a gripping way. The government couldn’t claim the images were fake, as Wexler filmed his hero amidst real live actual riots. It could however censor the movie and give it an X rating on its release, under pretext of explicit language and nudity. "What no one had the nerve to say was that it was a political 'X'" claimed the filmmaker.

Dominik Moll

Haskell Wexler is one of the emblematic directors of photography of the New Hollywood of the 70’s. He’s also the director of several militant documentaries. In Medium Cool, he combines fiction and documentary: fictional characters in real life situations (striking images of the demonstrations during the Democratic Convention in Chicago), and real life figures put in fictional situations. This adds up to a raw and explosive cocktail, with an already disenchanted vision of America.
P.S.: I suspect Stanley Kubrick was strongly influenced by one of the scenes in the movie, a love scene shot with a handheld wide angle camera, for his rape scene in A Clockwork Orange.


14/09 • 21h15 • Screen 100
Screening presented by Dominik Moll



  • With : Robert Forster, Verna Bloom, Peter Bonerz, Marianna Hill, Harold Blankenship
  • Screenplay : Haskell Wexler
  • Photography : Haskell Wexler
  • Editing : Verna Fields
  • Music by : Mike Bloomfield
  • Production : Michael Philip Butler, Tully Friedman, Steven North, Haskell Wexler, Jerrold Wexler