Citizen Trump

The Documentary Film Weblog points to an intriguing “aborted” documentary project, The Movie Movie, by director Errol Morris:

The Movie Movie, an aborted project, is based on the idea of taking Donald Trump, Mikhail Gorbachev and others and putting them in the movies they most admire. Isn’t it possible that in an alternative universe Donald Trump actually starred in Citizen Kane?

Morris’ website includes footage of an interview with Donald Trump, in which the The Donald discusses what Citizen Kane means to him. I think the project could have been a fascinating one, and future installments promise Gorbachev talking about his love for Tarkovsky’s The Mirror and Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, but also love the idea of Morris devoting a section of his website to “aborted projects,” documentaries that, for whatever reason, never reached completion. I’m tempted to think, in fact, that these aborted projects might say as much about teh filmmaker as the documentary films he actually finishes. And, of course, documentaries themselves often change directions in the course of filming, as is the case with Morris’ wonderfully good film, The Thin Blue Line.

Digging around on Morris’ website, I see that he also has an essay/rant on William Faulkner’s rather celebrated Nobel Prize Address. I’ve always been partial to Faulkner; his Nobel Address never ceases to provoke my thinking, and Morris’ comments illustrate the ways in which Faulkner’s comments remain timely nearly fifty years after they were first spoken (or whispered as the story goes–MP3 of address available here).


  1. Jimbo Said,

    February 20, 2005 @ 8:41 pm

    I liked Thin Blue Line as a film, but wasn’t sure about it as a documentary. What bothered me was Glass’ score, which though impressive and most remarkable, sharpened the conspiritorial edge to such a pitch so that it started to cut into reality itself. At a certain point in the film I started wondering what the virtuosic rhetoric of the film was itself concealing. In that sense, a bit like Moore, though Morris has a much better eye for filming arresting images.


  2. Chuck Said,

    February 20, 2005 @ 8:52 pm

    To me, that’s what makes it so teachable as a documentary. Several of my students even challenged me in class as to whether or not it should be considered a doc (and in many video stores, it’s classified as a “drama” or “crime film”).

    You may have seen it, but Linda Williams has a great essay on this topic (anthologized in the book, Documenting the Documentary). According to her reading, Morris does leave out some material that might have cast a negative light on the innocent Randall Dale Adams.

  3. Chris Martin Said,

    February 21, 2005 @ 11:46 am

    There’s a new book called Nixon at the Movies that sounds like it has a similar theme. See tg/detail/-/0226239683?v=glance

  4. Chuck Said,

    February 21, 2005 @ 12:12 pm

    Yes, the Nixon books sounds like fun (and interesting, too). I’m fascinated by the idea of Trump as Kane. Gorbachev’s appreciation of “Strangelove” had me imagining Peter Sellers as a wacky version of the former Soviet leader. Have you had a chance to look at the Nixon book?

  5. Chris Martin Said,

    February 21, 2005 @ 2:34 pm

    I haven’t had a chance to look at the book. I have too much to read at the moment. But I saw it advertised in Granta and the quality of writing was compared to David Thompson, so I hope to pick it up at some point

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