Back in 1998, I remember getting a ticket for smoking on an outdoor subway platform in Queens. I would have caused a stink (“What the fuck? We’re outside, and I don’t see any non-smoking signs!”), but I had to remember what cops did to my black roommate in Washington Square Park right outside our NYU dorm when they mistook him for a wanted drug dealer. You didn’t need The Village Voice to tell you that working, clubbing, going to school in New York City, even breathing wasn’t much fun during Rudy Giuliani’s iron-fisted reign as the city’s mayor, but if you lived outside the vicinities where artists and minorities quaked and shivered at the sight of Giuliani’s police officers, the paper was a good place to get a run-down of the man’s latest civil-rights violations. It’s no surprise then that Wayne Barrett, senior editor at the Voice and one of the fascistic Giuliani’s harshest critics (he is the author of the book Rudy), is enlisted by director Kevin Keating to catalogue the former mayor’s embarrassments and lies (his crock-of-shit interpretation of the Broken Windows Theory, his racist and class-biased educational reforms, and his inhumane welfare policies) throughout this intense but been-there-seen-that exposé that gets its name—for those living outside the city or who only come in to visit its Broadway strip—from a line thought to have been uttered by a cop during the rape and torture of Abner Louima. Some of Keating’s interviewees are bat-shit crazy, namely former mayor and sometime film critic (!) Ed Koch, whose hardline the other day on FOX News on immigration was just pitiful, but you know Giuliani is no saint when someone like Koch is likening him both to Pinochet and Caligula (Koch may or may not be queer but he’s definitely a drama queen). Keating wants to bust apart the myth of Giuliani’s sanctification after 9/11, but with the film set to open only in New York, what he’s really doing is preaching to the choir. It’s a strange film: Hard, direct, and honest, with no pretense of objectivity, but probably of no use until it reaches video, and only then if Giuliani runs for president in 2008 and a grassroots effort gets the film into homes outside the New York area.
- Cinema Libre Studio
- 117 min
- Kevin Keating
- Rudy Giuliani
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