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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  March 23, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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. >> rose: welcome to the program. we begin this evening with the attack near the houses of narmt london and talk to katty kay of the bc and fran seen lacqua of bloomberg, union. >> the uk government has this evening said that we stay at the same terror level alert, this was height toned severe two years ago meaning that a terror attack is likely, so we are not at the highest level, of course we have police, we understand that for the next couple of days, there will be more police deployed, one of the ministers also say they may call on the military if they find it necessary. but, charlie, the big difference i see and have covered a lot of terrorist attacks throughout year, i am thinking of brussels, again you were saying it was only a year ago to the day we saw that horrific the airport attack in brussels. >> rose: we continue this evening with steve coll, the dean of the columbia of journalism school and also a writer for "the new yorker"
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magazine. his recent article is rex tillerson is still acting like a ceo. >> the secretary of at a time is second most important spokesperson of the government after the president. it is your opportunity, it is your job to get out there and talk about america's place in the world, about foreign policy, and one of the tricks that the last secretary, last five secretaries is of state have modeled is how you use that speech, that bully pulpit to gain influence inside the cabinet, inside the white house, you make yourself a force by your opportunity to speak almost distinctly on behalf of the united states. >> rose: we conclude with daniele thompson a french filmmaker whose most recent film is "cezanne et moi". >> "cezanne et moi" in his lifetime, you know, was ignored, cezanne, and really not only by the establishment but by his friends, by his best friend, this is probably one of the things that was the most painful for him, because he admired a
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lot -- his writing and loved his books and read them all and when he received this book, he said at the time, he is 48 years old, he starts reading the book and when you actually -- you know, have gone into research about their lives and you read the book you think, oh, my god, i understand why he was so upset. because it is so intimately what they had been through as children. >> rose: a story from their lives. >> oh very much so. >> rose: an attack in london, steve coll, and daniele thompson when we continue. >> funding for charlie rose is provided by the following. >>
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>> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: we begin this evening with the attacks outside london's parliament today, the driver of a large vehicle ran down pedestrians on westminster bridge killing two people and injuring others before crashing into a railing, at least one man then exited the vehicle and approached parliament where he stabbed an armed police officer to death. he was then later fatally shot by police. hundred of people, including prime minister were inside farmt and were forced into lockdown. the attacks falls on the anniversary of the suicide bombings in brussels that claimed more than 30 lives last year. commander harrington said a full counterterrorism investigation is underway. >> the international coordinator declared this a terrorist
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incident and although we remain open minded to the motive, a full counterterrorism investigation is already underway. >> rose: and here is the latest on the attacks from the cbs evening news. >> there is breaking news in the terror attack in london, we have just received word that a fourth innocent person was killed in that attack today. just as the british were on guard for a possible attack in the sky, they were struck on the ground. in the heart of london. a driver plowed a car into a group of pedestrians, then stabbed a police officer, at least four people, including the officer were killed, 20 others were wounded. the attacker was shot to death by the police. elizabeth palmer is in london. >> it has been a terror attack. >> in only second askar speeding along the sidewalk left a trail of broken and bleeding bodies strewn across one of london's businessth bridges.
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>> seconds later, the car had crashed into the railings around parliament, setting off a panicked rush. >> in the chaos, shots rang out. >> it turned out the driver had shot past security into parliament's grounds and started to stab a policeman until he was fatally shot by another officer. >> the attack began in early afternoon, when parliament was in session, but astonished politicians were suddenly told it was in lockdown. >> i am going to us is intend the sitting of the house. this house is not suspended but please wait here. it is not suspended. >> british prime minister at the reis a may was whisked to safety while on the nearby bridge paramedics helped the injured and fought to save the dying. >> sunit and tourists from india saw the whole attack unfold. >> he was speeding on the pavement and he was knocking off people walking by.
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so -- there was a big sound one after the other. >> yes. >> he started filming, one victim flunk under a bus. another lying still in the middle of the road surrounded by shocked bystanders. >> i immediately told my wife this is an attack, it is a terrorist attack. >> there was no question in your mind that he was going for as many people as he could get? >> yeah, he was. he was just going on and on, he didn't stop. >> one british member of parliament on his way to work did his best to save the stand policeman, but a short time later, he died. >> police say a full terrorist investigation is underway into the most serious attack in london since the deadly subway bombings of 2005. >> fran francine lacqua joins me from the scene and katty kay from the bbc is here at the table, francine, what do we know
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now? >> charlie, we have been briefed by police all evening, the attacks started about 2:20 p.m. local time, where i am standing right now is on the south side of westminster bridge and understand that a car, a vehicle went through the bridge trying to mow down pedestrians, with we know dozens are injured, we know three people died and when an extra person was killed was the assailant, we understand so far there was only one attacker, the car then continued to drive, took a left on to the house of parliaments, that's when he got out of the car, took a knife out and stabbed a police officer. he was then apprehended by another police officer in civilian clothing who shot him. >> i said harrington said a full counterterrorism investigation is underway. as far as you know, do the police at this point consider it likely to be a terrorist attack? >> yes, charlie. and this was actually clear right from the start, about 15 minutes after this was underway,
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we understand or we understood from both scotland yard but also senior officials in government that this was treated as a full on terrorist attack. this is the most serious terrorist attack in over ten years, again, there is an investigation underway, charlie, so one of the things that they told reporters and they briefed us numerous times is not to speculate too much on who the attacker could be, we heard from the prime minister teresa may, given a, giving a full statement outside of downing street a couple of minutes ago, and what she was very clear on was that this was an attack and what she said was this was not only an attack but an attack at the heart of 0 our capital city. she is taking of course this very seriously, but we don't know much more beyond that. she was in a cobra meeting with civil servants and also a senior police officers to try to figure out more who exactly was behind the attack. >> rose: katty kay, what can you add to this? >> what we do know is it seems like one assailant armed only
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with a knife, charlie, and a car managed to shut down one of the biggest cities in the world for the cost of -- >> rose:. >> locked down parliament to keep members of parliament on loungedown, lockdown inside the house office parliament and terrorize one of the great cities in europe and one of the great cities in the world and that's what terrorism does, right? that's why it is so effective, but it doesn't take very much for somebody, we don't know who it is and who the assailant was and get that information as the investigation unfold bus it is a remarkably brutal and successful form of the terror in the western world and they are managing to perpetrate. >> rose: and also adds to this idea as there is some success in mosul and maybe in raqaa later with respect to isis even at its headquarters there are other means to carry on that does not involve territory. >> well this is what the so-called islamic state group has been wanting to do, to have
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freelance operations around the west as it gets squeezed in, its caliphate in syria and iraq, it is feeling under pressure and wants to show it still has. >> rose: alive and well. >> and still alive and well and this is the way it can do it and the truth is w we will never be able to stop this and never be able to totally eradicate people who are determined, if this is what it turns out to be, to take other people's lives and prepared to sacrifice their own lives in the process. this is easy and it is cheap to do. >> rose: francine, does the london government, british government view terrorism different in how they define it, in how they act against it? >> well, the uk government has this evening said that we stay at t same terror level alert, this was heightened to severe about two years ago, meaning that a terror attack is likely, so we are not at the highest level, of course we have police, we understand that for the next couple of days, there will be more police deployed, one of the
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ministers also say they may call on the military if they find it necessary. but, charlie, the big difference, i see and covered a lot of terrorist attacks throughout europe, i am thinking of brussels, again you were saying it was only a year ago to the day we saw that horrific airport attack in brussels, is that we have a lot of cctv cameras here, so in the past, when we have had attacks, or things that were heightened tensions for the public, it was fairly quick for the government and the police forces to find out who the perpetrators are, because we have so many cctv cameras. i think we counted, it was about one camera for every 14 londoners. >> rose: the argument has sometimes been made that the british view it as a -- as a police matter and that, therefore, the investigative powers of the local police, you know, is employed. >> well certainly in this case we are talking about the house of minister right in the middle of london, a lot of tourist and
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school children and indeed french school children injured in the course of this attack so immediately as this unfolded, you had the area swamped with police, some of them were armed police which is unusual in the uk in and of itself and the mayor of london tonight also said londoners must be aware there will be extra police and extra security on the police over the next few days. fran seen is right, it is not only cctv footage, the other remarkable thing about this was filmed bypasser byes, the former minister of poland who happened to be crossing the bridge at that moment who produced video of the attack as it ununfolded. >> where are we now? what is the next thing to happen? >> well, we are expecting and hoping to be briefed a little bit later on by metropolitan police, scotland yard, they have been keeping reporters up to date, but i do have to say, charlie, it took a little bit longer than expected or unusual for the prime minister to come out again, we do think she was briefed quite extensively and she knows of these matters and handled them in the past and she
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was home secretary for over six years, so we are hoping to be briefed as much as we can and then of course find out a little bit more about the injured. >> rose: thank you so much, fran seen, as late as it is in london. >> thank you. >> rose: thank you, my dear. to have you here. >> thank you, charlie. >> katty kay of the bbc, we will be right back, scay with us. >> >> rose: steve coll ask here and the dean of columbia journalism school and as staff writer for "the new yorker" magazine. the latest piece in this week's issue is called rex tillerson is still acting like a ceo. takes a look at tillerson's relationship with the press, the secretary's trip to asia last week became the subject of controversy when tillerson announced he would not be traveling with the dismatic press corps, tillerson has come over, criticism for his news styles. kohl's, coll private empire, exxon, mobile and american power
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is a study of the oil giant and its role in world affairs, i am pleased to have steve coll back at this table, welcome. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: i can imagine now, i have said this before, it is an exciting time and i can't remember more exciting time. >> to be a reporter, to be a journalist, to be looking at what is happening in the world. it is an exciting time to be out of journalism school as well, all of these young reporters going out into this environment, trying to figure out how to do their job professionally. it is a time i think when the attacks on the press have actually strengthened the press, made clearer what our role is, under our constitutional system and also raise the bar on our performance, we have to be good now, we are going to have to earn it, in this environment of kind of trying to delegitimatize the press or divide the press, so, yes, an exciting time to be in this profession. >> rose: did we as journalists or should we as journalists have learned something from the campaign? >> absolutely.
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yes. i think there were lots of misses in the runup to the election by journalism, at large, of course we have lots of journalism in this country, it is part of the story, our media is fragmented but there was an over reliance on prediction and over reliance on data science, and we have lost a lot of professional reporting in the heartland of the country where the election was decided, it used to be 20 years ago that there were very healthy newspaper newsroom in all of these cities and even midtowns and they were feeding through wire services and syndication services into the networks, into the two coasts and i don't think we would have been quite so surprised in new york and california on the whole. >> rose: if we had access to what they were saying? >> yes. a lot of reporting in ohio and michigan and wisconsin that was done by major news organizations was parachute reporting, it wasn't coming out of those states, those newsroom with the
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same kind of pulsing pour it used to have and also think journalism school, we wrestle with the role of big data in this world, and the way journalism now requires computational skills and science skills, it is all true but a bit of an over rehypes on data science prediction in this election, and underreliance of knocking on doors and going into key districts. >> rose: the shoe leather stuff. >> yes, i remember at the "washington post", ten or 15 years ago there was a general rule in it is general elections, dan broder would choose like 12 swing districts and go out and they would stand in front lawns and knock on people's door and say what is on your mind and what issues are driving you and what are you thinking? and it was tonight predict the result but when you read their 3,000 word omnibus report of all of these voices and -- they would take advantage of their experience, going back to these places and you had a sense of where it was going.
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at least it was an authentic role of journalism, it wasn't trying to give you a mathematical number of the likelihood of an outcome, be it was going out into these communities and letting voters be heard on the eve of the election. so i think we missed doing some of that this time around. >> rose: there is also this. it is the first time i can remember, even though they may have felt it, candidates said that the press was the enemy. >> well, one candidate, who is now the president of the united states said that. >> rose: i know that. that's my point. >> yes. that's a real -- >> rose: you always had among politician it is feeling that they didn't get a fair shake. >> yes. >> rose: but here you had somebody really took on the press in the campaign. as the enemy. >> yes and that was part of a strategy of populism and delegitimatation of i didn't situation that has extended to the judiciary .. to the federal bureaucracy, when you have the president of the united states on the first day in office apparentlily televisioning someone at the national park service of their post okay after
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photograph they didn't like of the crowds. >> rose: you have a new kind of president. >> yes. and so i think overall, my extent is that the press is used to being attacked, i mean if you are a reporter and haven't been yell at by your subject as but times you are not doing your job. >> rose: right. >> and so i don't think the press has been shaken by those kinds of assaults. i worry about the deleo legitimatation of our constitutional design by all of this incendiary speech which seeks to personalize or deleo legitimatize the functions of judges and professional reporters .. and people at the national park service who are serving their -- the taxpayers. so i worry about a strategy of trying to just kind of change the contours of how our system is supposed to work, but as to the press being called out, come on, we are used to that and we should shoulder it and just get on with our jobs. >> rose: that's exactly what i said. we should just do our job and not worry about anything else, do our job.
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but when you look now at the idea of fake news and not an acceptance of what facts are, that seems to portend something different. >> well, unfortunately, this term fake news has now been highjacked for it to mean news i don't like. it started out to describe something more specific and more worrisome which was the manufacturing of deliberately false information, sometimes for commercial purposes. >> rose: right. >> in sort of offshore, little businesses and then distributing that across social media platforms and making money off of the advertising that was available because it clicked. some of this manufactured news, which wasn't done for ideological reasons in some cases as i say it was done to make money, did focus on trump because people clicked on those stories. then you have another category of news which is maybe disinformation or r heavily ideological news, very difficult
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to determine, it is an eye of the beholder question as to when something is so distorted, so deliberately constructed to mislead that it crosses from just being hard opinion into being an active disinformation campaign, but there is also quite a lot of flow across social media of essentially partially invented stories that mislead, for ideological or political purposes, and look the social media platforms are the story here, i think, not because they are solely responsible for this problem, but they represent a profound change in the way news is distributed in our democracy, so newspapers used to control their distribution system right down to the driveway where the paper 1oys toed the paper, the networks had a clear pathway from their newsrooms to their audiences sitting on the television, essentially people who create the news loses the distribution
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and the important way it is distributed is facebook and other social media platforms and those companies see themselves as neutral, they don't see themselves as editors or gatekeepers, their idea is whoever -- >> rose: the distribution path -- >> yes, a kind of platform for exchange, free exchange and it is difficult for them to accept responsibility for policing a public square of sorts that they have created which is quite profitable for them. and so i don't think we h gotten very far in resolving the challenge that this election has presented to us and i feel pretty sure that it is going to get worse next time around. >> rose: in the next election? >> yes, because people have learned how to do this, and they -- the power of social media platforms as a distribution arm for news is not going to go away between now and 20-20, and i think the companies, facebook is, you know, trying to figure out what it can do, what it should do, at least stepping
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forward to engage around these questions, but i am not sure that they are going to be in a position to prevent this kind of campaigning in the future, or that it is in their business interest to do so. so i think this is not just something in the rear-view mirror. this is something that is going to shape our democracy. >> rose: and how can you define what the use of twitter by this president has done? >> well, it is interesting. you know, the media of course and the role of media in politics has changed as the technology has change, so remember when president reagan came to town, and he was a master of television, and he and mike deaver modeled this presidency of going over the heads of the working press by stage managing the esident's speech and appearances and his power and so forth, and everyone remarked on how successfully he had done an end run around the press using television.
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well, president trump has done the same thing using twitter which is he has managed to break out of the constraints that presidents either choose to impose on their communication because they want a more elegant and more constrained -- >> rose: he has used it to his own detriment many people would argue, even i think people within his own close advisors who because it takes him off message and creates a whole distraction. >> yes. >> -- that does not allow what may have been, after that speech, a positive message. >> yes, i mean, i think every political consultant in the country would agree with that there is no question about it but i am struck it is a little bit disconcerting but the power of that platform, the way he uses it to reach right into your pocket, you know, you wake up in the morning, you flip your phone on and there is the president of the united states, saying something, look what he has done again and it is that populist strategy of being able to speak
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tremendously to the people in the name of the people without gatekeepers, without advisors, without consultants, that has been his conceit throughout and he is a professional entertainer, he knows how to control a stage and a live, in and a live set and how to use confrontation to create drama, that may be no way to run the country but it is his instinct on how to communicate and i am not sure he will be able to relinquish it judge being at this pattern so far which there are certain hours of the day he just must, he must react. >> rose: or, are discussions among deans of journalism schools and editors of papers about, so where are we and what do we do other than the very basic thing, we do our job? >> we had a convening at the school a few weeks ago with editors from mainstream press and an editor for breitbart there about covering the trump presidency. i think in the end, everyone circles around to what you said, which is that we don't need to
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lose confidence in our role under the first amendment. we know through experience and our professional lives what to. do we know what the questions are. this is a remarkable constitutional scenario, just on the admissions that were made in the congress yesterday, where the fbi director says that members of the president's campaign team are under investigation because of concerns about their contacts with russia. we noah -- >> the word collusion was used. >> collusion. and we know from at least according to 17 or 18 intelligence agencies that the russian intelligence services carried out a deliberate effort to disrupt the 2016 election. >> rose: and to influence its outcome beyond just disrupt, the argument is made. >> yes, absolutely. >> rose: they have evidence it was intended to benefit one candidate more than the other sorchght step, stepping back in american history, tell me when in the first 100 days of an american presidency you had a situation where the fbi is investigating people close to
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the president for colluding with a foreign government that has taken hostile action against the united states in order to effect the out outcome of hits election? it has been a while since we have had a constitutional scenario like this, never mind the travel ban, the courts trying to intervene in the president's immigration policy, the president calling them so-called judges, i mean, we can't normalize in situation. this is a real series of departures in our recent, certainly our postwar experience. >> rose: and then there is secretary of state rex tillerson, you wrote the big book about exxon mobil who is not going to the -- conference, i assume, because he is going to be down in florida where the president of china is visiting the president of the united states. now, you know, how do you balance that? >> yes. >> where should he be? and he just returned from a trip to the far east. >> right. >> rose: i think you could
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argue he may be better off down there, because that, because of that crucial relationship than at nato. >> yes, it sounds like they messed up the scheduling about that. i am not so worried about that. i take note, however, that the secretary of state does not have a deputy, even nominated, he doesn't have any underseconds nominated, he doesn't have any assistant secretaries nominated. he is endorsed a 30 percent reduction in the budget of the state department. and he basically doesn't have a team. he doesn't have a relationship with the white house. you know, it is normal for secretaries of state to come in without a tight relationship with the president's aides and his campaign team, remember when secretary clinton came in, having run a very bitter campaign against president obama and it took her feel a while and obama's team a while to communicate, make nice with one another, but she succeeded because she understood how to use the bully pulpit of the state department to make herself felt, to be just -- the secretary of state is second most important spokesperson of
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the government after the president. it is your opportunity, it is your job to get out there and talk about america's place in the world, about foreign policy, and one of the tricks that the last secretary, last five secretaries of state have modeled is how you use that speech, that bully pulpit to game influence inside the cabinet, inside the white house. you make yourself a force by your opportunity to speak almost distinctively on behalf of the united states. you think about the last five secretaries that we had, john kerry, a professional politician, almost president of the united states, hillary clinton, candidate for president, battle scarred senator, condoleezza rice, very formidable because figure who has vast experience in -- at the white house before she took over secretary of state, proved to be a very colone colin powell one e most eminent members of his generation, who rose to the
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opportunity to speak about big ideas all around the world. so it doesn't really matter about which party or what the ideological 0 profile of the administration is, that is a model of how you do the job effectively, i think, overall and the irony of secretary tillerson is that when he does talk, you can see he is still learning what the difference is between running a giant corporation and speaking on behalf of the united states and foreign policy, is but he is comfortable in conversation. he knows a lot of these issues. he is perfectly capable of taking the heat of dealing with free -- >> rose: -- an interview with you. >> no, he didn't, i chased him around like johnny reporter because he couldn't sit down i would sit in the audience and raise my hand. but i watched him those, these were very controlled setting, the typical format is he would read a prepared speech, but he would take some questions from the audience and they weren't generally professional
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journalists that were as knowledgeable about he is about north a, asia i if you had the diplomatic press on the mean but smart people and sometimes the questions would be handling and he can handle the stuff he is chief executive of a company for ten years, of course he can handle it. >> rose: the biggest company in the world -- >> and travels around the mideast and knows the leadership. >> rose: should that be definition make him, give him the tools to be a good secretary of state? >> i think the job has several components. one of them involves negotiating in private, super well qualified to do that, of course, and that negotiating grid usually includes leaders or foreign ministers. >> rose: most of the negotiations is in private, isn't it? >> in american diplomacy? >> rose: yes. >> well, semi private, a lot of it is -- >> rose: i don't think john kerry was telling us what was going on in the diplomacy of iran. >> yes, but he was out talking to foreign press, to foreign legislatures, all the time he
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was talking privately with russians and syria, and you have to play at all of those levels, look, we are an open society, a democracy, so you need to be accountable to your own public, but all of our allies are also democracies, it is their decision making about whether or not they are going to go into, say, a more confrontational risky posture about north korea, that decision is going to be a function of domestic politics in japan, south korea, australia, the european union, so where is the politics shaped? it is shaped by parliaments, by opposition parties, by the press in those countries, and so if you think you are going to change a construct of regional policy in asia without speaking aloud to all of those parliaments and republicans that are your allies, i think you are not going to get there. there there are a few kind of negotiations like preparing for a secret opening with cuba or nixon to china or, you know, a close the doors and let's try to get the middle east solved kind
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of negotiation you can do entirely like a deal negotiation, but most diplomacy is multiple, multiple dimensions at the same time and it must involve public communication. >> rose: and you need a full team to do it. >> you need a full team to do it, and would it be natural for someone coming in as an outsider, even someone with rich corporate experience and leadership experience to complement himself with a deputy who knows the system, knows the building, knows the diplomatic service, knows how the embassies are administered, knows how the national security council works, and he had someone, elliott abrams who he selected for that position, it was exactly that kind of character, and was turned down by the trump white house, apparently because they thought abrams wasn't loyal enough in the campaign. >> rose: it seems things are still being influenced greatly by factions within the white house. >> yes there are a small group of people that seem to be in every photograph. >> rose: and they are close to each other in terms of -- >> i mean, the degree of leaking
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from this presidency is certainly on the top end of any washington transition that i have experienced. usually this doesn't a quite so fast, and it suggests that there are a lot of conflicting individuals and groupings within the white house, but also you look back at the president's business history and you see one where there are a lot of transactions, a lot of people in it for themselves. it is not -- this is not, you know, sort of a family candy company he ran, so he seems to cultivate a little bit of combat among his advisors and one way to play that conflict is through the press. >> rose: so do i hear you say in the end he was not a good choice? >> tillerson? >> yes. >> i don't know. i feel like he has. >> n't hasn't depp investigated whether oyet whether he can rise
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occasion. he did take one interview. >> rose: why did he take her is. >> i don't know, she did a good job in the view and pressed him on the press access. but she works for a digital website whose chief executive as i understand it because former communications specialist for the republican party so i think there has been a general bringing of kind of partisan media in the white house, so be it. but she difficult a professional job. i think one thing he said to her when she asked him several times about press access was, may i have only been on the job six weeks, be patient. all right. fair enough. but this cannot go on for six months, this way because i don't think it is effective, either within the state department, the cabinet, or as a strategy of carrying out diplomacy. >> rose: this is what else he told her, he said, he understood as secretary of state he is now accountable to the american public but added he was determined to do things his way because at common mobile he had
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been very successful diplomatically over 25 years by staying quiet and letting the governments he negotiated with manage their own domestic politics. you know, this is a narrow kind of conception of diplomacy, however one bargains are struck on the basis of private interests. that was said by you in your article. >> uh-huh. yeah. that is my argument. i mean, i suppose you can take the other view which is that we can go back to a kind of 19th century diplomacy where the secretary of state is really just out there negotiating, kind of a special envoy role but american america's place in the world and the diplomatic services place in the world, after all he is the leader of the diplomatic service, all of these embassies, all of these consulates all of these human rights programs, deputy promotion, public health programs, you know what it is like out there, u and all of the authoritarian countries where some human rights activist in chad or in angola, they get into
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trouble, the american embassy is part of the way that american values are transmitted and implemented in these countries and so the person who leads that department at least in my memory has been someone who has been in touch with that mission, a spokesperson for it. >> rose: going back to a broader view about the press, do you think that because of the criticism, the press is more sensitive to being tougher on themselves and more rigorous and at the same time tougher on the president and what he says and does? >> i hope so. i mean, we have a diverse media, that's all over the map, and, you know, so it is hard to generalize, but i do think i hear, certainly a lot of self scrutiny after the election, after the surprise at the election and also hope that the second thing he said about increasing rigor in response to the attacks, not just toughening
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up and doing one's job but getting better at it. >> rose: exactly. >> i hear that, i hope that i is what we see. >> rose: thank you for coming. great to have you here. >> good to talk to you, charlie. >> rose: steve coll, a staff writer for "the new yorker" magazine, we will be back in a moment, stay with us. daniele thompson is here and a french fill filmmakers whose new film is called "cezanne et moi", and follows the friend sthefer of cezanne and -- and they met at young school boys and friends for 40, for 40 years, set in the 19th century it delves into the parisian art world and offers a glimpse into the minds of its most radical thinkers here is a look at the film's trailer. >>
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daniele thompson back at this table. welcome. >> thank you. >> rose: great to see you as well. they allow you to make a film that is not a comedy. >> well, it is a first. >> rose: yes. >> you know, when i was a writer, i was a screen writer, i wrote a lot of films that were comedies but this time i thought i am going to try and really dig into this incredible relationship. >> rose: what was it that intrigued you?
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>> the first thing that intrigued me is i never heard of it. i mean, of course like everybody else who has ever stepped into a museum and seen paintings of cezanne and, you know, and of course in school the in france we have to read so la, this is the harry potter of our culture but i never knew they actually had known each other and suddenly reading and article in a magazine, i found out that not only did they know each other but met as children in this tiny little town in the south of france. at the time and the idea that these two little boys had become sort of these monumental figures. >> rose: and very different little boys in terms of their background. >> exactly. but very, very strong and passionate friendship as children. >> rose: yes. >> -- built, and then a very long friendship, it survived a lot of problems and this is basically the story of the film. but they eventually broke up and the breaking up was really the thing that i thought intrigued me the most.
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and so i started research. >> rose: and that was what in about 1886? >> they were born in 1839, cezanne and 1840, so la, so they were the same age, so they are 20 in 1860 and this is when all of that group of young new artists. >> rose: all went to paris. >> all went to paris, or some were in paris, but the thing to do was to go to paris for something to happen, because nothing was happening in the rest of the country. and this is where it was happening and they were a fabulous group. you always see today these sort of old men and, you know, you were old at 45 at the time anyway, but they were young and starving and loving, you know, sleeping with the models and it was a little bit like what happened 100 years later, in fact, in the sixties what we call the sixties, the 20th
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century, you know, where there was this revolution of all of this group of young people, rebelling against the establishment. >> rose: right. >> the bourgeois and suddenly throwing away all of the rules. >> rose: but as you said they were different. i mean one came from the upper class, cezanne. >> yes. which i discovered, i didn't know that. i knew very little about cezanne. >> rose: what was your source material? was it the letters of cezanne. >> a lot of letters between the two of them, a lot of wonderful letters, which actually have been published for the first time together a few months ago in paris. beautifully written letters, very, very intimate, almost love letters. >> rose: this was like a bro, bromance. >> yes, exactly and a lot of biographies of one and the other, but nothing really about them, between them. this was my job. >> rose: so they broke up because zola published a book called the masterpiece. >> yes. >> and cezanne took great
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umbrage at that book because he thought it was about him because it was about a failed painter. >> exactly. >> rose: and he didn't find game until after he was dead almost. >> exactly. he had a little bit of, you know, a recognition in the last few years of his life, actually, after zola died because zola died four years before, strange circumstances, you know, a lot of people including his family think zola was murdered because of the dreyfuss affair, that is another story, another film. but. >> rose: are you going to make that too? >> no. i don't think so. but it is true that cezanne in his lifetime, you know, was ignored and really not only by the establishment but by his friends, by in his best friend this is probably one of the things that was the most painful for him, because he admired a lot of zola's writing and loved
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his books and read them all and when he received this book, he said, at the time, she 48 years old, he is 48 years old, he starts reading the book and when you actually, you know, have gone into research about their lives and you read the book you think, oh, my god, i understand why he was so upset because it is so intimately what they had been through as children. >> rose: a story from their lives. >> very much so and the portrait of the, a of the hero of the book, which in fact he is not a hero at all, he is really a very, very, very difficult person, very much like cezanne in real life, and someone who is so desperate to find what he is looking for in painting and never does and ends up hanging himself in front of a painting. so. >> rose: hanging himself in front of a painting. >> this is the end of the book, and so cezanne reads this and he recognizes so many things about
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himself, he did not kill himself in front of the -- >> rose: everything else, the painting and -- >> exactly. and very personal things that they had been through together. i mean, but this is a problem that a lot of writers have, i mean, writers are vampires, we all know that. >> rose: suck the blood out of everything they -- >> absolutely. but the thing is, of course, when i read about this breakup, i thought, well, there must billions something else, you just don't break up for one reason, it is like in love affairs, there are a lot of -- >> rose: that's true. >> -- a lot of other things obviously that have happened inbetween them, that's how i decided to look into it and, you know, see these two people were opposite all the time. >> rose: yes.ué>> and yet they r and they kept wanting to survive, to make this friendship survive, because it is their youth, and -- >> rose: what is really great about the films in terms of the opening of the film which you come out and you show zola
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writing and then you show cezanne painting and then you go back to that point in which they were young and they were just meeting each other. >> yes, little boys. >> rose: at little boys and you see the whole thing there. you know, within a minute and a half. >> it is based on a lot of information about, you know, true facts that, you know -- >> rose: you took some liberty with facts, some artistic license. >> a lot. a lot. >> rose: in terms of doing what?% >> well, in terms, for instance, of inventing the frame of the story, which is that last say the last rendezvous, the frame of the film probably never happened, because, you know, everybody thinks that after the publication of the book. >> rose: there never was a meeting? >> there was never a meeting, maybe there was, in fact, there was a letter from cezanne to zola that was discovered after i wrote the film. >> rose: right. >> so that was a very exciting thing to find out, he said i am
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going to come and see you, so maybe what i invented actually happened but we will never know but what i really tried to do was, if they had seen each other, if they had met and if they had had this strange last weekend, what would they have said to each other that they had never actually had the courage to, you know, to confront, and that is how i started writing, and then decided to do this flashback construction of the film, where you see a lot of the wonderful things that they have had in common and the terrible things that actually separated them. >> rose: what is interesting too is in your casting, you sent the script to an actor to play one part and he writes back and says oh i want to play the other p. >> yes. a wonderful actor, at the comedy france and actually himself a film director and is very, very talented actor f he played a
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small part years ago when he was not famous yet, in the film i made ten years ago, called avenue 10. >> rose: oh, yes. >> rose: it got a lot of attention by the way. >> yes. you know, we remain friends and i right away after i finished the screen play i sent it to him and i said, you know, read this, and read the part of zola and he called me and said i love the script, but i want to play cezanne. >> rose:. >> and obviously, i was shaken by that news, thinking, well, it is not at all what i had managed but that is is sometimes very good to actually be confronted to something that you have not imagined and see, you know, and so he said, well, let's read together and i will see if i can convince you. and he did. >> rose: yes. what is interesting back to the first question i asked you, is this notion of how long you wanted to do this, you know, and people think of you as primarily
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doing comedies. >> it is true that most of the time, you know, when i discovered this relationship, not that story, because there was no story, i actually build the story but this relationship i thought maybe there is a story in this, and then i would do a comedy and then thank god it would be successful and then of course i would do another and, you know, and then every time i would finish a film, i would think, well, maybe i should take the time, because it is not like you suddenly write something, you know, that is happening today or you have really to spend a lot of time speculating that you might find something out of this -- out of this -- all the details you find in biographies and get very, very, very intimate also with the time with the way people lived and the way they -- they would eat and how they -- you know, you
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have to feel completely comfortable in that other century, to be able to start writing as if it was a movie that was in the streets of new york today. so i, about three years ago i thought, well, this is the moment where maybe it is time for me to do something else and, i am getting old, so if i want to do this, it is now, and i will take the time, not, you know, i didn't know whether i was going to find enough dramatic energy in this to build the screen play, but then after a few months, i decided i was ready to try and give my own point of view. >> rose: but you have a lot of stuff to build on, you had a lot of sources of the relationship of their individual lives. books have been written about each of them. >> yes, there were a lot of things about each of them and of course you know more about zola anyway and knew more about zola, of course, because first of all you know much more about a
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writer from his writing than a painter is a mysterious figure behind the canvas. so i knew very little about cezanne, even the fact that cezanne was so ignored during his life. >> rose: yes. >> because you always think of -- everybody of course always uses as an example of the -- the cursed artist, but cezanne was like that too, and cezanne also is not on the, is on the list of the bipolar people which of course was about known phenomenon even though it existed at the time, he was also up and down and he was very, very -- he had a rage in him, in himself, and also he looked for something all his life, something new he was looking for, like -- and had a hard time finding it and then when you see paintings of the last ten years, he found it, and, you know, he was this revolutionary artist
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that influenced -- >> rose: cubism and abstractionism. >> but it is fascinating that in fact his best friend in the meantime, who actually was a journalist when he was young and very brilliant one. >> rose: and wrote about artists. >> and was a very, very interesting art critic. >> rose: right. >> and defended the impressionists who were the bump of young people who were, in fact, the word impressionist was actually used to make fun of them. >> rose: when does the movie premiere? >> march 31st in new york and it goes all over, and i hope people can -- >> rose: well, it is a great, great story, and you have got these two fascinating characters at the center piece and there is a touch of authenticity .. to it because they were real and they had lives and they did know each other, you know, and there are women involved. >> and how. >> rose: and how. you couldn't have a film without women being involved, could you?
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>> no, and they are great arguments, i love my arguments. >> rose: at what point did cezanne marry? >> when did he marry? >> yes. >> when his son was seven years old, you know, and he never dared tell hits father he was married because he was not really proud of his wife who was not bourgeois so he lived, you know, the extraordinary thing is that when they were little boys, cezanne was the one who invited little boy so la over to give him food, because he was literally starving, and then as soon as they became young men and in paris and cezanne had so little money to live on, it was zola who started making money who helped him for many, many years. >> rose: yes. because zola hadound game early. >> very early. >> in his life. >> very early. >> rose: the opposite of cezanne. >> it is opposite all the time. >> rose: and it is if yin and yang. >> you know, the places i shot
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the film were at the real places, the house you see is zola's house, and. >> rose: that would have been a reason to make the film enough. >> exactly when i went looking for locations, you know, where o sort of be there where they y hard to get to the place, it is a national park, and they are terrified of fire. >> rose: yes. >> but we managed. we had permission to be exactly those places and that was something that, you know, brought something very magic for me to the film. >> rose: do you know what you are going to do next? >> i probably will do a long, a project for television. >> you mean because of the opportunities in television today? to do -- >> i always worked for television, even when i was very
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young and actually not a very good thing to do in france because most great writers despise television but i didn't because i had lived in the country -- >> rose: no longer there. >> no longer there, so things are changing and i think i might do that. i am still in my cezanne and zola story but i am going to be able to start rethinking of something new soon. >> rose: great to see you. >> thank you. >> rose: daniele thompson, thank you for joining us. see you next time. >> for more about this program and early episodes visit us online at and captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
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>> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide.
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