Silda Wall Spitzer and Eliot Spitzer in CLIENT 9: THE RISE AND FALL OF ELIOT SPITZER, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

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.

Highly recommended!

Thanks to Tobi Elliott for help with this blog.

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Magnus Isacsson

As an independent documentary filmmaker I have made some fifteen films dealing with social, political and environmental issues. Previously I was a television and radio producer. I was born in Sweden in 1948, immigrated to Canada in 1970. I live with Jocelyne and our daughter Béthièle in Montreal, and my older daughter Anna lives in Toronto.

One thought on “Disgrace”

  1. I just watched Client 9, thanks to this post. A pretty good documentary where the Republicans lie outright in the cam, which just shows what mess Albany is in. Interesting that Spitzer agreed to be interviewed and talks straight.

    Bref, this would hardly be a doc in France.

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