Watergate in full: Epic documentary shows at Berlin fest

AP

Print Article

  • Director Charles Ferguson poses for a photo prior to an interview with the Associated Press about his movie 'Watergate" at the 2019 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

  • 1

    Director Charles Ferguson poses for a photo prior to an interview with the Associated Press about his movie 'Watergate" at the 2019 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

  • 2

    Director Charles Ferguson speaks to the Associated Press about his movie 'Watergate' during an interview at the 2019 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

  • Director Charles Ferguson poses for a photo prior to an interview with the Associated Press about his movie 'Watergate" at the 2019 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

  • 1

    Director Charles Ferguson poses for a photo prior to an interview with the Associated Press about his movie 'Watergate" at the 2019 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

  • 2

    Director Charles Ferguson speaks to the Associated Press about his movie 'Watergate' during an interview at the 2019 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

BERLIN (AP) Charles Ferguson thought Watergate had never "properly been done." The result was a documentary that explores the American presidential scandal in its full epic span, clocking in at more than four hours.

The director of financial crisis documentary "Inside Job," which won an Oscar in 2011, is presenting the film this week at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it had its European premiere. The documentary was shown in the U.S. last year.

Ferguson told The Associated Press on Tuesday that while many books have been written and films made about the 1970s scandal that ended U.S. President Richard Nixon's time in the White House, "there's never been one place where the entire story was told in a comprehensive way."

Titled "Watergate Or: How We Learned to Stop an Out of Control President," the documentary features extensive interviews with many of the surviving players in the scandal, 1970s news footage as well as material from Nixon's notorious tapes.

It frames the scandal in a wider context, including the Vietnam War and foreign crises during Nixon's presidency, while detailing the beginnings and development of Watergate through to and beyond Nixon's 1974 resignation. Nixon quit as he faced impeachment over his role in the attempted cover-up of a break-in at Democratic Party headquarters executed by burglars connected to his re-election campaign.

Ferguson mixes the interviews and archival footage with re-enactments of scenes from the Nixon tapes. The director said he felt that would be "easier on the viewer," given the tapes' poor audio quality.

Ferguson, who was in high school at the time, recalled watching the U.S. Senate's Watergate hearings. He said he came up with the idea for the documentary about five years ago.

"I felt that it hadn't ever properly been done," he said.

Work on the film started as "things were happening in American politics that made us think that we might live through it again," Ferguson said.

President Donald Trump's administration and its scandals have drawn comparisons with the characters and events of the Nixon era. Ferguson's documentary avoids explicit reference to any possible modern-day parallels, but does go out of its way to explain American law and the mechanics of impeachment.

"I felt that it was necessary to show how the American legal and constitutional system worked in this situation so that people would understand what might happen now," Ferguson said.

"I also felt that it was important not to bias the film in any way as a function of what was going on now, but rather to show what happened during Watergate and let people draw their own conclusions about what was the same and what was different," he said.

 

Print Article

Read More National & World News

AP Top International News at 1:38 p.m. EST

AP

February 17, 2019 at 12:40 pm | French protests mark 3 months, yield anti-Semitism probe...

Comments

Read More

Saudi crown prince arrives in Pakistan for regional visit

AP

February 17, 2019 at 12:26 pm | ISLAMABAD (AP) Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began his four-day regional visit on Sunday, arriving in Pakistan where Saudi officials signed agreements worth $20 billion t...

Comments

Read More

Assad: Only the state can protect groups in northern Syria

AP

February 17, 2019 at 12:11 pm | DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) Only the Syrian state can protect groups in northern Syria and the army will "liberate every inch of Syria" from foreign troops, Syrian President Bashar Assad said Sunday. ...

Comments

Read More

Italian soccer team loses 20-0 after fielding only 7 players

AP

February 17, 2019 at 11:53 am | CUNEO, Italy (AP) A third-tier Italian soccer team had a day to forget when it lost 20-0 after being able to field only seven players, all of them teenagers. Pro Piacenza, which has financial p...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(608) 365-8811
149 State Street
Beloit, WI 53511

©2019 Beloit Daily News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X