Lili, who coordinates the Documentary Film class to which I'm addicted -- every Friday afternoon, 1:00 to 4:00 -- never tells us what she's going to show next but she tries for balance. The last two weeks have been bio-docs and the two rather handsome men couldn't be more different.
A week ago the documentary was called "Client Nine" about the downfall of NY Governor Eliot Spitzer who seemed to think that he could frequent high cost call girls and not get caught. That kind of hubris has brought down many American politicians while others, before our media age which thrives on sexual scandal, had their quieter asides but remained in office. For me the docmentary was valuable because director Gibney strongly implicated a couple of Wall Street "Masters of the Universe" in planning and promoting the discovery ... since Spitzer had already tackled the undercover manipulations of money between big business and big banking and investing. Hank Greenberg's AIG fell because of Spitzer and others were in serious trouble.
After all that political angst in our long, long discussion last week, this week's documentary was about as opposite as possible, I forget the exact title but it was about (Mr.) Fred Rogers and his "Neighborhood" -- basically about what a truly authentically good and out front man he was. I missed, or I should say, my daughters seem to have missed him. I think they were born a few years too soon for his show because they were, briefly, watchers of Mr Green Jeans and Capt. Kangaroo who were predecessors. So, in a way, this was almost as educational as was the Spitzer film. Surprisingly it occasioned a great deal of group discussion. Whereas last week's discussion showed some political schism in the group. We are mostly New England style Democrats but there are a few conservative Republicans in the group of about 30. The room was full of political angst; this week's discussion was tales of positive experiences.
The films are what we go to the class to see, of course, but the discussions are a kind canape with no cocktails with which we sort of say TGIF. Like myself many class members are regulars, but every year there are new people who join in. The variety of commentary is always lively and continues as we walk to our cars when we've finally left the room. And I must say, Lili is truly an excellent facilitator of the discussions, including people fairly and leaving no one out.