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Pioneering Documentarian Drew Honored

Pioneering Documentarian Drew Honored

It's commonplace today, but 50 years ago following someone around with a camera without narration, direction, musical accompaniment or even a script was revolutionary.
That "cinema verite" technique and its pioneer, documentary filmmaker Robert Drew, were celebrated this weekend by the National Archives and Records Administration and Hollywood's Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
"Our new way of doing it has become old. But it's become part of the fabric of reporting," Drew said in an interview with The Associated Press Friday evening before a screening at the National Archives of his 1963 film "Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment."
"What's amazing to me about all this is that I make a film 48 years ago and it deteriorates, and I deteriorate, and along comes somebody like the National Archives which says we'd like to preserve (the legacy of) the film _ and they do," said Drew, 83.
"Crisis" shows President John F. Kennedy and his attorney general Robert Kennedy considering ways to respond to Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace's resistance to integrating the University of Alabama.
Drew got to know Kennedy when he made the then-senator's 1960 presidential primary bid against Hubert H. Humphrey in Wisconsin the subject of his first film, "Primary." Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, liked the film and Kennedy gave Drew total access to the White House, including the Oval Office, to film "Crisis."
Drew also had access to Wallace, and the result is fascinating, unfiltered views of the Kennedy brothers' decision-making, race relations, Wallace's belligerent embrace of states' rights and the two young, black students at the center of the maelstrom.
Restored prints of "Crisis"; "On the Road with Duke Ellington" from 1967; "Kathy's Dance" from 1977, focusing on a modern dance choreographer; and "The Chair" from 1963, about the fight to save a man from execution, were shared by the motion picture academy's film archives for the weekend screenings.
Drew's films on the arts often were made with his wife, producer Anne Drew, who worked with him on "Kathy's Dance" and accompanied him at the tribute.


Updated : 2021-04-22 22:12 GMT+08:00