A President to Remember: In the Company of John F. Kennedy

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Tribeca Film Festival (Drew Associates)

Cinema verite pioneer Robert Drew has revisited some of his most notable early efforts for this powerful new documentary about the 35th President. A re-edited compilation of footage from such seminal works as "Primary, " "Faces of November" and others, "A President to Remember: In the Company of John F. Kennedy" is clearly timed to resonate at a point in the country's history when confidence in the office is at a low ebb.

The film, which also includes footage never previously released, is startling for the close access granted to the filmmaker by Kennedy both during his election campaign and his early days in office.

Thus, we see many candid scenes filmed during Kennedy's primary contest against Hubert Humphrey and his eventual presidential race against Richard Nixon. Extensive segments are also devoted to such momentous historical events as the Cuban Missile Crisis; his battle with Governor George Wallace over desegregating the University of Alabama; and the immediate aftermath of his assassination.

There are also fascinating diversions into such minor but fascinating elements as when Kennedy seriously injured his back while briefly digging up some dirt during a ceremonial tree planting.

The film, which features unobtrusive narration by Alec Baldwin, is notable for its intimate portrait of its subject, which was achieved thanks to both the unprecedented access granted by the history-minded Kennedy and the then-new camera technology that made it possible.

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