How does one interview perhaps the greatest interviewer of our time? Errol Morris, a titan of documentary filmmaking, has elicited introspective confessions from both a former US Secretary of Defense and a death-row inmate. He’s a man that can interview a self-avowed Holocaust denier (as he did with Fred Leuchter in Mr. Death) — and somehow make you, the viewer, understand where this misguided man is coming from. In Morris’s latest, The Unknown Known, the great interviewer meets his match in the gobbledygook and aphorisms of two-time Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The film (a sequel of sorts to Morris’s Academy Award winning The Fog of War) is pretty much just two men in a room – one asking questions, the other finding ways to shy away from answering. But this isn’t a film necessarily about Iraq or Abu Ghraib or any other political lightening-rod; instead it’s an expose of a man and how he wields/twists/misuses language to justify his means. A film that posits sometimes when you peel back the layers of a person, you discover the most horrible of truths: that there wasn’t anything there to begin with.
In the following interview with filmmaker Errol Morris, he discusses the ‘horrifying’ truth to Donald Rumsfeld, the perversion of language, the construction of false narratives, his own ‘physical’ presence in his documentaries, and going the fiction route for his next film Holland, Michigan. For the full Unknown Known interview, hit the jump.