Eugene Jarecki is known to have set new standards for political documentaries. The US director explores his home country, unafraid of posing questions that penetrate beyond the shiny surface level of the American Dream.
To celebrate the release of his new film The King about Elvis Presley this Friday here is our rundown of his acclaimed documentaries:
With his first feature documentary The Trials of Henry Kissinger (2002), Eugene Jarecki set the tone of his films for the years to come. The film examines the claims behind war crimes committed by National Security Advisor and later Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who was controversially awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. With a complex portrait is painted, The Trials of Henry Kissinger won the 2002 Amnesty International Award and has been broadcast I over 30 countries.
Why We Fight (2005) takes an unapologetic look at history of the US military-industrial complex. Jarecki examines how the US government has misled the American public over the past 50 years for the means of keeping its dominance in global politics. Interviewing politicians, war veterans and refugees, the consequences of a foreign policy strategy putting power over people are revealed.
Taking his political focus to centre in on one of the most contradictory and controversial political figures of the past decades, Eugene’s feature documentary Reagan (2011) chronicles Ronald Reagan life, legacy and lasting influence on American politics.
Awarded with the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, The House I live in (2012) offers a penetrating look into the workings of the US criminal justice system. Talking to inmates, officers and judges alike, Jarecki captured heart-wrenching stories at all levels of America's drug war. Creating a strong case for reforming US drug laws, he shows how individual stories point towards bigger questions about the state of our society.
With his new film The King (2018), Jarecki sees Elvis as a metaphor for the country he’s left behind. In a genre-bending documentary of visionary dimension, a musical road trip in Elvis’ 63 Rolls-Royce becomes a cross-country examination of the state of the American Dream. Personal, Political and Passionate: The King – out in cinemas across this Friday.