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Look out for more coverage of
Death of a President in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Death of a President

THE STARS:
Hend Ayoub • Brian Boland • Becky Ann Baker
DIRECTOR: Gabriel Range

Director Gabriel Range and the poster THE CONCEPT:
Winner of the International Critics Prize at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival, this controversial movie is conceived as a fictional TV documentary set in 2008, reflecting on the assassination of President George W Bush on October 19, 2007, and its aftermath.

U.S. RELEASE: October 27 2006, Limited • Rated: R

THE COMMENTS:

It’s illegal to even talk about assassinating a President, what did you have to go through with your lawyers before making a movie about it?
GABRIEL RANGE:

“It’s illegal to talk about assassinating the President if that is your intent, and if there’s malice behind it. There is no way in which this film could be seen to be inciting anyone to commit this act. The assassination is portrayed as a horrific event with terrible consequences. I think the initial knee-jerk reaction was based on the notion that his film was in some way a kind of liberal fantasy, and that it in some way would celebrate the assassination of President Bush, and it is not. It is a serious film that does not take the assassination of President Bush as entertainment; it takes it as the starting point for what I hope is some very serious questions about some issues that have affected us all in the last five years.”

Why was it important to use the actual sitting President – could you have told the same story with fictional characters?
RANGE:

“I wanted to make the film as realistic as possible, I wanted it to be as much as possible about the world we live in, so although it is set in the future, every twist and turn in the story is in some way inspired by real life events. We used the assassination of President Bush as a very arresting and striking way of looking at some of the things that have happened in the last five years.”

How did you piece together the footage you used?
RANGE:

“The film was made using a mixture of archival footage from other events that [we] made our own either through adding characters using computer effects, or giving it a fresh context. There was also footage of President Bush that I filmed myself when he came to visit Chicago on a couple of occasions.”

What’s your take on the controversy that surrounds this movie?
RANGE:

“I think the controversy about the film has grown from people who have not seen it. I was shocked to hear Hillary Clinton condemn a film as disgusting and sick when she hadn’t see it. I think there is a lot of fear at the moment about this film, and I think that’s quite interesting. The film is about the consequences of fear on a political, social and cultural level, and I think the fear that various theatre owners have had for distributing it is quite interesting. It’s going to open at a lot of theatres at the end of the month, and I hope a lot of people will get to see it.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Death of a President site
Images above © Newmarket Films / Film4
Feature © 2006 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #676, November 2006 cover

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