‘Crawford’ despite its centering around George Bush excels in its ability to tell a story of real people, rather then taking the agenda pushing docutainment route that is so prevalent in the world of documentary cinema.
The film begins as George W Bush moves to the small city of Crawford, Texas. The filmmakers follow a diverse group of residents who have lived in the town for many years. From Pug, a man in his 50s who was born and raised there, to Tom, a left swinging High School student.
Initially received with open arms, one of the personalities in the film says “Before Bush moved here, Crawford was 15 miles from Waco, Now, Waco is 15 miles from Crawford.”
The voice here is very much the residents, presenting all their viewpoints, the good and the bad. Some cite Bush’s desire to live in Crawford as his wish to reside within the small town vibe, some cite the image makers of the presidential candidate.
“When Bush comes to town, four to five thousand people show up. I have no idea they come from…You don’t wanna know what its like when they come to town.”
The first few years of Bush’s residence are times of prosper, the city basks in the spotlight, but as the Iraq war erupts, so do the political tensions of the city. Led by Cindy Sheehan, the town finds themselves host to thousands of strangers, making things as simple as driving down the street difficult.
The film was shot on video, looking and sounding great. There were times where they would shift to archival footage provided by television, and some home video footage, but overall, it looked great.
With a subject like this, it would have been very easy to pick a side and stick to it. Argue with the subjects, stick the camera in the faces of pro- or anti- war protesters. Director David Modigliani opted against such an approach. Instead, he uses his camera to paint a portrait of the town, before and after the arrival of their most famous resident.