Mr. Hoover and I

Director: Emile de Antonio
Year Released: 1989
Rating: 2.0

Personal essay by longtime political dissident and documentarian de Antonio contains musings on his life and film career and a supposedly 10,000 plus page file kept on him by INGSOC - which he calls America's "secret police" - and its long-gone grand inquisitor and file keeper John Edgar Hoover. As much as I like and appreciate the work of John Cage, I think the usually methodical de Antonio takes Cage's theory of 'chance' and randomness a little too far, as he - more often than not - cuts off his own speeches and stories before he gets through telling all the details and throws in footage of Cage himself creating a strange looking loaf of bread where it doesn't seem to belong (it feels as if he discovered footage of his old friend but had no other film to put it in). De Antonio's a smart man and makes some intriguing arguments (and some tin-foil hat pronouncements), but unlike a superior essayist like Chris Marker, he seems stifled here by his cinematic 'freedom,' as he was much more adept at shaping stock footage in his best known documentaries.