Just in case you thought there was a simpler, nobler time in politics, tonight's screening of the 1960 documentary Primary will either delight or disgust you. Produced by Robert Drew, shot by cinema verite groundbreaker Richard Leacock and Albert Maysles (whom Jean-Luc Godard once called "the best American cameraman") and edited by D.A. Pennebaker, it took the techniques of direct cinema and the New Wave and applied them to the previously stodgy netherworld of the documentary. Leacock and Maysles took advantage of the new technology in compact, portable cameras and took the public to places never before thought reachable by artists. Compare that with today's citizen journalism and the Occupy movement and you see a thread stuck like toilet paper to a shoe, winding its way back through time. Over one tough hour, you'll see John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey traversing Wisconsin, trying to convince people they should vote for them instead of Nixon. What do the people say? "Stop raising our taxes!" Timeless. Part of the Election Films Series, which screens political documentaries in anticipation of the November presidential election. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd.; Wstwd.; Tues., Aug. 14, 7:30 p.m., free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu.
Tue., Aug. 14, 7:30 p.m., 2012