At a packed press conference in Venice today, George Clooney preempted potential criticisms that his Good Night, and Good Luck is a political polemic. "I didn't make the film as a political statement," Clooney said. "I made the film as a historical reference." To that end, rather than cast an actory to portray Joseph McCarthy, Clooney chose to use actual footage of the HUAC-heading witch hunter.  "The trick was to show the actual McCarthy, doing what he did," said, and the film's co-writer and producer, Grant Heslov, added, "Nobody could be as bad as he was." Apparently the filmmakers were saving the hyperbole for the press conference.
 
That decision had a major impact on the picture's overall aesthetic. as it forced Clooney to shoot in black and white. Though he admits that part of the motivation to make a film like this is to "get ... in a bit of trouble", hear Clooney tell it, it's as much a film about a lost media moment as it is about McCarthyism, and that relationship between politics and journalism that stand in sharp contrast to the news maker/news presenter dynamic of today. Nowadays, "You go to the channel that plays to your belief pattern. We start with different sets of facts, it's more polarising," he said.  "It's been a long time since broadcasters were the most trusted men in America."

In other news, it's very, very rare that I do more than one post on the same film on the same day. I guess you could say I'm officially obsessed. I'm not the only one: up until today, each entry of Victoria Lindrea's Venice diary for the BBC was subtitled, "Desperately Seeking George." Today, she got her man – along with the rest of the press conference-attending mass.