Point of Order! 1964. USA. Directed by Emile de Antonio. 35mm. 97 min.
This compilation of kinescope recordings from the CBS television archives of the 36-day-long broadcast of the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings begins with the narration, “Everything you are about to see actually happened.” This statement is factually correct—these hearings were nationally televised in full—yet this is a 97-minute compilation from over 180 hours of footage. Illustrating the power of editing, Point of Order! endures as a separate entity from its source material—it actively confronts American democracy by crafting a narrative out of it simply “at work.” In an interview heralding the film as his most impactful work, Emile de Antonio stated, “There is something about the immediacy of a film image that enables the viewer himself to perceive something about the nature of process and the nature of character in a way that words could never do.” The film was first screened at MoMA as part of the inaugural 1963 New York Film Festival.