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It's Time for 'Guiliani Time' — Again

2 Feb, 2008 By: Billy Gil

Giuliani Time

Cinema Libre Studio is re-releasing Giuliani Time on DVD Feb. 5 in an “Election Year Edition” at $14.95. The new version includes two new special features: an interview with Wayne Barrett, author of Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11; and an interview with Rev. Al Sharpton, who offers sharp words regarding republican Rudy Giuliani's time as the mayor of New York.

Director Kevin Keating's profile of the former mayor started in late 1998 as a short film, but turned into a five-year process, spurred by new controversies during Giuliani's second term. Chief among these are when police gunned down 23-year-old Amadou Diallo, an unarmed immigrant from Guinea who matched the description of a serial rapist. Giuliani took a lot of heat for allegedly condoning racial profiling.

“This happened days after we started shooting,” Keating explained. “Then, days later, Giuliani got into conflict with the Brooklyn Museum. … He hadn't seen the artwork [in question] but didn't like some of it and was going to cut off funding.”

The exhibit in question, “Sensation,” featured controversial artists with such work as a portrait of a black Virgin Mary littered with elephant dung. Giuliani's critics argued he was attacking the Constitution's First Amendment right of the freedom of speech.

“He had a way of polarizing all the various factions in the city,” Keating said.

Keating's film sifts through more than 300 hours of footage, including video now easily found on YouTube of Donald Trump sampling perfumes with Giuliani in drag, and interweaves them with interviews to create what he calls an “important historical document,” more so than a narrative film.

Keating said the film picked up attention through hundreds of newspaper write-ups and an Associated Press story. Despite the exposure, the film was a hard sell to distributors. “When we first tried to approach people … it got to be almost an automatic [refusal],” Keating said. “There was an intimidation factor.

“People are afraid of Giuliani. … [They think] he is … vindictive.”

Eventually Cinema Libre released the film theatrically in 2006 and on DVD in January 2007.

Now with the election season in full swing, the film's re-release comes on Super Tuesday, when, as of press time, 24 states will hold their election primaries, with Giuliani having dropped out of the campaign but potentially still vying for a VP nod.

“I recommend Giuliani see this film,” Keating said. “Half of the material he's probably not aware of, and should be.”

Political Documentaries

“It can do nothing but good to bring forward to the theater-going public real life issues and drama,” Keating said of the current state of politically minded documentaries and narrative films. Here are films available now on DVD that deal with the current state of politics and possible candidates for the U.S. presidency:

Senator Obama Goes to Africa. First Run. $19.95.
Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience. New Video. $26.95.
60 Minutes: Mitt Romney. CBS. $17.95.
Hillary The Movie. Citizens United Productions. $23.99.
ABC News This Week: Hillary Clinton and Ken Burns. ABC News. $19.95.

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