NOW Magazine - Hot Docs - - Hot Docs Film Festival Reviews -

(Penny Lane, USA). 85 min­utes. Rat­ing: NN The key el­e­ment in this pic about Richard Nixon’s clos­est aides is the 400 reels of home movies they took dur­ing his pres­i­dency. In­ter­views with spe­cial as­sis­tant Dwight Chapin, chief of staff H. R. Halde­man and do­mes­tic af­fairs ad­viser John Er­lich­man (be­fore the lat­ter two died) as­sess events while the movies roll.

Un­for­tu­nately, not all the ma­te­rial is gold, mainly be­cause the boys couldn’t shoot straight. The footage of Nixon’s his­toric China foray is de­cent, but there’s a ton of rep­e­ti­tion – we don’t have to see the White House gar­dens five times.

The White House tapes fig­ure promi­nently – Nixon’s ho­mo­pho­bic rant is es­pe­cially wild – but I’m not sure why this film deals nei­ther with the Watts and Detroit ri­ots that so pow­ered Nixon’s para­noia or the 1970 na­tion­wide stu­dent strike that fol­lowed the Kent State shoot­ings.

But it’s great to see John Kerry, now sec­re­tary of state, as a Veteran Against the War ad­dress­ing a mam­moth peace march in Wash­ing­ton. SGC Apr 27, 7 pm, The Royal Cin­ema; Apr 29, 3 pm, TIFF Bell Light­box 1; May 5, 1: 30 pm, The Bloor Hot Docs Cin­ema.

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