Details are salaciously short, but documentarian Errol Morris appears to have made a film with — of all people — Steve Bannon. We know the film, titled “American Dharma,” will debut at the Venice Film Festival and that it’s meant to be a “dialogue” — a broad description that applies many of Morris’ films — but that’s about it. All of this begs the question: What could the movie possibly be about?
Will Morris take the “Thin Blue Line” direction, hoping to frame the former Breitbart chairman as a victim of cruel circumstance? Will it be a grim and intimate retrospective à la “Fog of War,” recounting Bannon’s days in the fray of the Trump campaign?
It could, of course, be a small business process film like “Gates of Heaven,” a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of Bannon’s internet troll farms. Maybe it will look like “Wormwood” and cut between talking heads and reenactments with recognizable actors — in which case Rosie O’Donnell may get the chance to play Steve Bannon after all.
The obvious spiritual predecessor of “American Dharma,” of course, would be “Tabloid” That film tracks the life of Joyce McKinney, a glamorous front-page regular for the British gossip rags in the late 1970s. Given Trump’s own tabloid presence in that period, Bannon could fit into a similar narrative, especially given his history of running sensationalist stories on Breitbart.
Bannon has some prior experience with documentary films, having directed nine. His filmography is a bit more slanted than Morris’s, however, including paeans to Sarah Palin, Ronald Reagan, Andrew Breitbart and “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson, as well as screeds against the Occupy Movement and President Obama.
One thing is sure: Whatever the direction of Morris’s documentary, we hope it sheds some light on Bannon’s investment in “Seinfeld.”
PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture intern. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org