The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. For more information on films playing in the Cinémathèque, please call 773-281-4114. To order advance tickets online, visit the TicketWeb website by clicking here.
with producer Peter Almond
(Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived)
"A compelling and extremely unusual approach to a possible history" -Atom Egoyan
"Watching Kennedy field astute questions and scathing critiques with thoughtfulness and wit proves extremely illuminating; his weighing of complex factors in an international situation and consciousness of how much rides on his decisions strikes a now unfamiliar note" -Variety
"Elegantly constructed" -Village Voice
"An amazing array of recorded conversations and vintage newsreel, and...enough press conference footage to make one nostalgic for the days when an uncowed, penetrating press really did serve the public interest, and the president was a smart, inspirational and often very funny figure who could think on his feet and fearlessly take on all comers" -TV Guide
"Intriguing" -NewCity Chicago
½ "Virtual JFK shares the incisive spirit of inquiry found in [Errol] Morris' films"
" -Chicago Sun-Times
"The film is documentary at its most primal and direct" -TimeOut Chicago
"An admirably concrete survey of how Kennedy dealt with a series of international crises" -Chicago Reader
Virtual JFK is a fascinating investigation of one of the most debated "what if" scenarios in the history of U.S. foreign policy: What would President John F. Kennedy have done in Vietnam if he had not been assassinated in 1963, and had he been re-elected in 1964? Using an array of resources, the film employs what Harvard historian Niall Ferguson calls "virtual history," assessing the plausibility of counterfactuals, "what ifs" and the outcomes they might have produced. First-time filmmaker Koji Masutani and Brown University professor James G. Blight ask: "Can a president make a decisive difference in matters of war and peace. or, are the forces that drive a nation into war a lot more impersonal, out of the control of any single human being, even a president?" In 1963 the US had 16,000 military advisors in Vietnam. In 1968, Johnson had 500,000 troops there. The film examines Kennedy's decision-making patterns, like his responses to such Cold War events as Bay of Pigs and East Berlin. Studying Kennedy's term of presidency is not merely an academic exercise; it serves as a case study of the broader issue about presidents and their decisions regarding war and peace. Directed by Koji Masutani, U.S.A., 2008, BetaSP, 82 mins.
Cinechat: Producer Peter Almond will be here for a Q&A after the 7 & 9 pm screenings on Friday, January 9.