The Providence Journal: June 7, 2006
The conclusions reached in the new documentary Giuliani Time recall the Oliver Stone movie JFK -- a general misconception that is now a movie! Another documentary. Another conspiracy theory.
The phrase "Giuliani Time," meaning tolerance for police brutality, was never attributed to a New York City police officer. It was never said in the police-brutality case of Abner Louima, and it was never an unofficial policy of the New York Police Department. A reporter coined the phrase! No matter, several years go by and it's now the basis for a film documentary. In fact, Rudy Giuliani's reputation as a law-and-order mayor obscures the reality that he had a very contentious relationship with the police unions and police commissioners, and was hardly a beloved figure among the rank and file who would have carried out "Giuliani Time" justice.
Giuliani Time is not really a documentary, or anywhere close to the truth. How about Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth? The book-publisher promotion says, "Read The Truth." If there's no truth in advertising, what can there possibly be in advertising about politics?
Chaim Yavin, the so-called Walter Cronkite of Israel,
after 38 years of reporting on the Palestinian question, recently
produced his first documentary, Land of the Settlers, and says he feels better now that he's been able to tell the truth. Okay, but what's he been reporting the last 38 years?
The so-called documentary Giuliani Time, produced by Kevin Keating, premiered in Manhattan and Los Angeles on May 12, and is another nail in the coffin for the original meaning of the word documentary--which in future dictionaries shall be defined as "not facts, but what I really think," "primarily left-wing," and "conspiracy theory."
It's all Michael Moore's fault. He started it with the entertaining Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11,
although to his credit Moore entered the latter into the regular-movie
category for the Academy Awards, instead of the documentary group
(better cocktail parties too).
Just as a quaint reminder, documentary is a video/film form of news analysis meant to document the facts of an important subject. Just don't let it get in the way of entertainment!
Running endlessly on the local Cox Cable television this election year are promotions for a documentary about Rhode Island state-treasurer candidate Frank Caprio--produced by Frank Caprio! It's unintentionally entertaining, but please--for the love of truthiness--call it a movie, a work of fiction, and don't bring home any documentary awards from those conspicuous documentary-film festivals. Everyone has one already, anyhow.
Giuliani Time and An Inconvenient Truth are political Trojan Horses, meant to seem at first as earnest works of artistic journalism. Once inside the walls of the theatre, though, they reveal themselves to be political animals. What will they end up destroying?
Certainly not number-one Yankee fan and Republican Rudy Giuliani, who at a recent fundraiser in Boston--of all places--was given a Red Sox jersey with "08" on the back! Mitt Romney, John Kerry: Take note. Rudy's first big fundraiser is scheduled in New York, on June 13.
The documentary Giuliani Time scores points for picking a terrific story. Rudy is America's most popular politician, and some say he has a very good chance of becoming the next president of the United States. For his actions on 9/11, he's become the American Churchill.
was also voted out of office after winning World War II, by a
constituency that had tired of his omnipresence. The same can be said
about Rudy after two hands-on four-year terms as mayor of the greatest
if not toughest city in the world. Sixty years later, historians credit
Churchill with providing nothing less than every Briton's freedom, to
say nothing of Western Europe's. Rudy saved New York from itself, and
then, perhaps, the entire country following 9/11.
Giuliani Time chooses to mix up the weariness that many New Yorkers had with Rudy's personality after eight years with the utter effectiveness of his policies. The film will stand as a record--in only this sense a documentary--of the head scratching that is still going on among New York Democrats over the Giuliani administration and policies that effectively debunked and cleared out 30 years of failed liberal government.
Giuliani Time is not a work of history or a factual documenting. It is a well-timed political hit job, meant to ride a Michael Moore-ish wave of hysteria in tandem with other like-minded investigative-journalism efforts, such as the claims that a missile and not a plane hit the Pentagon.
Now that's entertainment!