With the news of the indictment of International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn on charges of sex crimes against a hotel maid in New York, you may wonder why a wealthy and powerful man practically considered to be a front-runner for president of a world power (France) would (if indeed guilty) do something so unacceptable and self-destructive.
Some fragment of the answer having to do with the intoxication of power and fame can be glimpsed from a truly excellent documentary called Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer. It tells the story of how former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer got caught using an agency to book appointments with thousands-of-dollars-an-hour call girls.
Spitzer was famous for taking on the banks and speculators in Wall Street, and had been touted as a possible democratic candidate for the U.S. presidency. He didn’t commit the kind of crime Strauss-Kahn is accused of, but he fell from high and hit the ground hard.
The film, directed by Alex Gibney, is a model of documentary filmmaking. Not of the unpredictable fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind, but on the contrary, very carefully planned and executed. The mix of sex of politics is explosive, the characters, including Spitzer himself, hookers, madams and Wall Street sharks – his powerful enemies who helped get him caught -are fascinating.
Thanks to Tobi Elliott for help with this blog.