Book Report

Book Report is a meditation on the weaponization of language. It combines short sequences of Mad Men's Don Draper reading books and relevant facts about the 2016 presidential campaign—including a history of the hashtag #trumpbookreport and notes on a payment to the mysteriously named “Draper Sterling” ad agency. A choral voice-over, drawn from the infamous Access Hollywood transcript, revises the misogynist “locker room talk,” turning it against the original speaker. In the Mad Men sequences, Draper’s reading is always interrupted, as though his efforts to be elsewhere are doomed. Mysterious, specimen-like images intervene in the scenes of reading, providing both commentary and a vivid index of Draper’s immersion. The text and voiceover create a tense counterpoint: Draper reads and viewers are invited to read over his shoulder, but with little patience for literature, facts, or civility.

  • John Muse
  • Jeanne C. Finley
  • Craig Baldwin
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    13 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 28, 2017
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • True/False Film Festival
    United States
    March 2, 2017
  • Aesthetica Short Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    November 12, 2017
    Official Selection
  • Inspired by Ideas : Film night, Makerversity
    United Kingdom
    November 15, 2019
  • Other Cinema: New Experimental Works
    San Francisco
    United States
    December 16, 2017
  • Bucharest Short Film Festival
    December 2, 2017
  • Borderline Art Collective
    San Francisco
    United States
    May 25, 2018
  • San Francisco Frozen Film Festival
    San Francisco
    United States
    July 21, 2018
Director Biography - John Muse, Jeanne C. Finley

Since 1988 Jeanne C. Finley and John Muse have worked collaboratively on numerous experimental documentaries and installations. These works have been exhibited nationally and internationally, at festivals and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Guggenheim Museum, The Whitney Biennial, San Francisco International Film Festival, Berlin Video Festival, Toronto, and World Wide Video Festival. In 2001 they received a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship. Additional awards include a Creative Capital Foundation Grant and an Artists in Residence at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. In 2009 they were presenting artists at the Flaherty Film Seminar.

Finley, a Guggenheim Fellow and Alpert/Cal Arts Award winner, is a Professor of Film and Graduate Fine Arts at the California College of Arts. Muse is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Haverford College, Haverford PA.

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