Watched the nice HD version, but over streaming, which turns the film grain into digital mush. Would’ve been worth renting the blu-ray for the 2008 Return of the War Room update doc, but maybe it’ll be viewable on Filmstruck eventually.
Covers from the primary to the presidential election, although from Criterion’s notes:
The filmmakers began shooting during the 1992 Democratic convention. Everything in The War Room that precedes the convention was either news footage or, in the case of the New Hampshire campaign meetings, the work of filmmaker Kevin Rafferty, director of Feed (1992).
I also liked that Pennebaker snuck in footage from a 1950’s project and used it as an establishing shot. Anyway that’s a lot of politics to cover in 90 minutes, so this movie flies through the campaign, devoting time to a few episodes and controversies behind the scenes.
Viewers do enjoy the feeling of being there. The primal appeal of the documentary, though, lies elsewhere. What people respond to, deep down, is the feeling of being in a place where they are not permitted to be, the feeling that they are seeing and hearing things that were not intended for them to see and hear … Today, everyone is a media expert. Virtually everything is recorded, or can be recorded, and there are few places that we feel we shouldn’t be. There are even fewer places that we feel we couldn’t be.