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Tribeca “documusical” turns Rudy Giuliani’s arc into an opera

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NEW YORK (AP) — A new documentary about Rudy Giuliani premiering at the Tribeca Festival weaves together musical performances to give the ups and downs of the man once commonly known as “America’s mayor” an operatic flavor.

“Rudy! A Documusical,” directed by Jed Rothstein, is largely a sober, conventional analysis of Giuliani’s unlikely political life trajectory, from New York prosecutor, mayor and 9/11 hero to pusher of bogus legal challenges. of the 2020 election for then-President Donald Trump.But to fully convey Giuliani’s exaggerated highs and lows, Rothstein felt he needed a Greek chorus.

“His story is very lyrical,” Rothstein said in an interview. “Music can bring out emotional truths that are different from the fact that someone is talking about it. It’s certainly unconventional in a documentary, but it brings out its own truth. I wanted to have a film that captured the madness of his arc.

Rothstein initially considered creating operatic interludes for his film – Giuliani is a noted opera fan – but quickly realized that the demands of putting on even an interstitial opera were too high. He instead turned to musicians and Broadway performers to write and stage the musical numbers.

“Rudy! A Documusical,” which is seeking distribution in Tribeca, is the most significant documentary to attempt to reconcile one of America’s most confusing politicians — once Time magazine’s Person of the Year — of the past 30 The film is coming to Tribeca — a film festival born in part from 9/11 — just as the House Committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol unfolds. whose law license was suspended for lying about the 2020 election, recently met for hours with the House committee.

Giuliani did not participate in the documentary, although Rothstein says he made numerous attempts to convince him to sit down for an interview. “Rudi! instead features interviews with former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton; Al Sharpton; journalist Andrew Kirtzman, author of ‘Rudy Giuliani: The City Emperor’ and press secretary to Giuliani in his first successful run for mayor, Ken Frydman. It also includes a forensic psychiatrist to help explain some of the actions around the Capitol Riot.

For Rothstein, a lifelong New Yorker whose films include “WeWork: The Making and Destroying of a $47 Billion Unicorn,” Giuliani’s story is part America’s.

“What motivated him? said Rothstein. “Why did he make this trip? What does its centrality in our recent history say about all of us? »

Some of the film’s most vivid parts examine Giuliani’s mayoral campaign against David Dinkins, operating on a law and order platform that exploited racial dynamics. The film is not entirely critical of Giuliani. Sifting through 9/11 footage only made Rothstein more impressed with his leadership at the time.

“He’s a person who’s always been concerned with morals,” Rothstein says. “As he says, his father told him to look in the mirror when he shaves in the morning and to be able to see himself with pride. And I wonder what he thinks of it now.