Thursday, April 13, 2006

Giving Rudy a hard 'Time'; Film depicts an iron-fisted mayor
Giving Rudy a hard 'Time'
Film depicts an iron-fisted mayor

Rudy Giuliani better hope that a new documentary on his mayoralty, "Giuliani Time," never makes it to cineplexes in Iowa, New Hampshire and other presidential battlegrounds.

The two-hour film, which debuts May 12, casts Giuliani not as the hero of 9/11 - the role that won him acclaim as America's Mayor - but rather as the iron-fisted ruler of a city where children went hungry, the poor were forgotten and many city cops were racists.

In short, "Giuliani Time" seeks to do for Giuliani what Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" did for President Bush - namely, shine an unsparing light on the darker corners of his life and career, just as he starts to run for President.

"It is always a mixed message with Rudy," said Kevin Keating, 61, a veteran cameraman who is making his directorial debut with "Giuliani Time." "But I don't think he is going to be remembered as a great mayor."

Giuliani is making his first trip to Iowa, home of the first presidential caucus in 2008, next month just a few days before "Giuliani Time" opens at Landmark's Sunshine Theatre on East Houston St. - its only venue right now.

The movie's producers hope it will grow from there, with plans for a broader DVD release in the fall - just in time for election season.

For New Yorkers who lived through the Giuliani era, the film offers few revelations: It winds from his Catholic school upbringing to his days as a mob-busting prosecutor and ultimately to his two terms as mayor, with particular focus on the racially charged police shooting of African immigrant Amadou Diallo.

Perhaps the most startling comments come from former schools Chancellor Rudy Crew, a one-time pal of Giuliani's who emerges as one of his toughest critics.

"There's something very deeply pathological about Rudy's humanity," says Crew, now the Miami-Dade schools superintendent. "He was barren, completely emotionally barren, on the issue of race."

Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton adds his two cents, saying that "the great failing" of Giuliani was his inability "to put himself in [the] shoes" of the city's vast immigrant population.

Village Voice writer Wayne Barrett, a persistent critic of Giuliani's, serves as the movie's chief narrator, with lesser roles filled by Giuliani fans like Myron Magnet of the conservative Manhattan Institute.

Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel did not return calls for comment.

Some experts opined yesterday that such a film could even be helpful to the moderate Giuliani as he seeks to woo conservative GOP primary voters.

"If he is seen as the victim of a left-wing smear," said GOP consultant Nelson Warfield, "there are going to be a lot of conservative Republicans who say, 'Hey, Giuliani is my kind of guy.'"