Howe, Daniel Bell, Nathan Glazer, Irving Kristol
15 @ AMMI
Chang, Cinemania Online
faces: Irving Kristol (far right,
standing) at City College, in Joseph
Dorman's "Arguing the World."
A documentary on postWorld War II New York
intellectuals, and all their squabbling.
Pitch: "Reds" meets "My
Dinner With Andre."
Pedigree: The film was funded by the
National Endowment for the Humanities.
Audience: Socialists, neoconservative
radicals and magazine editors.
Verdict: Director Joseph Dorman takes an
entertaining look backwards to a time when people
honestly believed that either utopia or oblivion
was just around the corner, and an endless
soapbox rant was going single-handedly to bring
it whichever about. Starting with
young student radicals bickering about Marx and
Trotsky inside City College's cafeteria,
following through to the shock of war and Stalin,
and then on to the further complications brought
out by McCarthy, liberals and the 1960s, Dorman's
documentary on the New York intellectual scene is
filled with moments of both nostalgic insight and
cerebral wheel spinning. (At times, it's like
watching academic pit bulls chasing their own
tails.) Although you might think the subject
matter would result in dryness to the point of
dehydration, the film proves to be endlessly
informative, at times very amusing and filled
with incredible period footage, including shots
of the Depression-era Lower East Side and the
student takeover of Columbia in the 1960s.
Background: Howe is the founding editor of
"Dissent" and the author of
"Socialism in America." Bell is the
author of "The End of Ideology." Glazer
is the author of "We Are All Multiculturists
Now." Kristol is considered a founder of the
(1 hour, 47 minutes)
credits: Courtesy of: Film Forum