EXCLUSIVE: Showtime dropped a trailer today for Dror Moreh’s extraordinary new documentary, The Corridors of Power, an urgent examination of how American leaders have responded to reports of genocide and mass killing of civilians around the world since the fall of the Soviet Union.
We can also report that Showtime is giving the film an Oscar-qualifying theatrical run beginning November 25 in Los Angeles and New York, and on December 2 in Washington D.C. The documentary comes at a critical time in world history, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine precipitating what some experts, including Russia analyst Fiona Hill (speaking to the New Yorker), consider a third World War. As of this week, according to the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, almost 6,500 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russian troops surged across the border in late February.
Moreh (The Gatekeepers, The Human Factor) has assembled perhaps the most exceptional group of interviewees for a documentary ever, including former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Hillary Clinton, Condoleeza Rice, former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, among others. His purpose: to understand why some heinous crimes against humanity have triggered U.S. action, while others have not.
“The initial motivation was born simply from watching the horrific images coming from Syria in 2013 and the lack of response from the international community to those atrocities,” Moreh explains. “In Libya, the U.S. led a massive intervention to keep Qhaddafi from killing his own people, but in Syria nothing happened. So, I was wondering what goes on in those decision-making rooms when they debate whether to intervene in one place and not in the other. Then when I looked at quite recent history, I saw the same thing in Kosovo and Rwanda. Bosnia took three years to stop with a U.S. intervention; the question as to why grew in me.”
Atrocities on that scale pose the most challenging of moral and political quandaries: is it our duty as a nation to try to end such outrages, or should we be constrained by something closer to self-interest? As the late Secretary Albright puts it in an interview excerpted in the trailer, “There are always people that will argue what does it matter to us? Why should we care?”
“My effort all along was to put the viewer in the seat of the decision-maker,” Moreh says. “As an Israeli, whose government sends the army first and asks questions later, I am inherently against military actions. But as a citizen of the world, it did seem fitting that the USA was being called upon from Damascus as Syrians were gassed by Assad. I did not understand why President Obama didn’t follow his own red line and why they were not standing behind their commitment to protect civilians that were clearly victims of classic crimes against humanity.”
The director notes, “I came out of this project much less judgmental, as I walked through the deliberations and debates inside the corridors of power.”
The Corridors of Power premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in September. Deadline film critic Todd McCarthy, reviewing the documentary at Telluride, observed, “The film deserves to be seen in any and all venues by audiences interested in the state of the world and clarity about how we got here.”
Watch the trailer above.