2011 True/False Film Festival: ‘Page One – A Year Inside the New York Times’

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Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times

Directed by Andrew Rossi

2011, USA

Andrew Rossi’s documentary Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times is quite simply the most riveting and entertaining film to play at this year’s True/False Film Festival.  One might think that a film about the daily ins and outs of a newspaper would be dry and boring but Rossi’s film manages to give us drama that every fiction film would dream of giving us.  It is not a love letter to the newspaper but rather an objective look at what it’s like to be working in a business where at every turn you might be worried about losing your job.

The key is that Rossi has a character who is perfect for the story he is telling.  Like so many beloved character actors that are finally given a chance to lead, David Carr has been one of the most endearing writers in the newspaper industry ever since starting his blog “The Carpetbagger” on the New York Times web site.  Carr is a wonderful character, unafraid to speak his mind and chock full of wonderful quotes.  One of the best scenes in the film is when we see him ripping into an interview subject for making light of effort of newspaper reporters.

Carr isn’t the only interesting subject in this film.  Bruce Headlem is the media editor and he has a french Citizen Kane poster in his office.  He remarks how he doesn’t know any skinny newspaper reporters like Orson Welles in the poster.  Brian Stelter is the young phenom who was hired at 21 after the only experience he had was running his blog.

The film is funny, suspenseful, powerful, and consistently entertaining.  The film moves at a brisk pace and it leaves you wanting more.  This is the rare documentary that is as entertaining as it is informative.

Joshua Youngerman

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