Movies about the late 60s or early 70s become more and more epoch films. They describe a time when dollars were kept in boxes to be used by kids ten or fifteen years later and still have some value, when smoking in restaurants and working places was the norm, when journalist used typewriters and lead was making the printing industry a health hazard, when people used public phones and put coins in them to get a dialing tone, and when parking places were available in Manhattan. And yes, a time when women were an exotic presence in board meeting rooms (unless they were serving coffee) and when printed press mattered. Yet, understanding the past seems essential to make sense of our present, including some of the wars of today that seem to have been fought forever (or at least since half a century ago). These include the need and right for a free press to tell the truth even if this is inconvenient for the government, and the need and right to have women who make key decisions at the higher levels of our society and institutions. These make the story and the essence of ‘s most recent film The Post.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6294822/mediaviewer/rm198401792

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6294822/mediaviewer/rm198401792

 

The Post is actually ‘The Washington Post’ whose story we follow until the very moment that starts the Watergate case, one of the most famous cases in the history of the United States of America and of printed journalism. Before the newspaper became famous it was a respected but rather small and ‘local’ liberal newspaper, run for long time as a family business. They were not the first to write about the Pentagon documents but had their opportunity when the NYT were preempted to continue the publication by a judge order. The risks they took were both economic and personal and the film describes the crucial week when the decisions of the owner of the newspaper () and the editor-in-chief () promoted the Post on the national scene and wrote a page of courage in the history of the American journalism and democracy.

 

(video source 20th Century Fox)

 

Of course, the two principal theme resonate today but in a different context. There is no need for a journalist or for a TV reporter for any citizen of the US or of the world in order to make their opinion known or generate news. The problem is not in making the news public, but in filtering between fact and fake. Yet, the right of saying what is right and true even if it comes in conflict with the interests of the rulers is still a critical problem. So is the role of women and the attitude towards their contributions. Women are no longer a rarity at decision levels, but they are still under-represented, and other factors of the relations between the sexes in the centers of influence became a priority lately. I would say that of the two strong political messages of the film, the feminist one was better presented, and no little credit belongs of course to . I was not enthusiastic with the level of the cinematographic execution of the story overall. I expect more from a film directed by Spielberg than plain and clear story telling, but he seems to have decided to let the things run and speak for themselves on the screen. A classical political story about good journalism deserves a classical cinematographic approach Spielberg may have thought. Yet, some of the technical details overwhelmed the story, and a few moments were too ‘classic’ in style to my taste. The three minutes dialog between Kay Graham () and her daughter compete for Spielberg’s worst three minutes of film in his whole career. On the other hand is – again! – stellar in his acting. He IS Ben Bradlee, the journalist professional and the citizen. This is one of the several reasons to see this film, which may end by receiving more honors that it deserves, for various reasons.