“Nixon’s Coming” is a 9-minute short film about a weird meeting between President Richard Nixon and a small group of drugged up student protesters in the early morning hours on night in 1970. Based on photographs from student activist (at the time of course) Bob Moustakas and recordings made by Nixon which were declassified in recent years, this little movie paints an interesting portrait of a strange visit to the Lincoln Memorial.
Due to Nixon’s weird penchant for recordings, he decided to record his own recounting of the spontaneous meeting at the Lincoln Memorial, and as a result of the declassification of this tape in 2011, we have a short film with a voice over from Nixon himself. Now do we want to believe him? It’s not like this was some momentous event or that historians would even care about such a small little thing, so why would he feel the need to lie about what happened there? So we can rest assured that what Nixon says happened, he at least BELIEVED it happened.
Because one night he got up at 4 AM and couldn’t sleep anymore, so he decided to take a little after dark trip to the Lincoln Memorial (with a member of the White House staff who had never been), and when they got there, they found that a group of a few dozen student protesters had just arrived to town and they stopped at the memorial themselves. And apparently Nixon went to them and introduced himself and had a little pow wow, admitting to them that he understands where they are coming from and he knows how they feel, and then dropping some strange sounding bits of knowledge on them before getting out of there. And then he sees Bob Moustakas taking photographs and gets one with Bob in the photo, and Bob recounts the conversation they had, noting that they may have been talking but they weren’t communicating.
So Nixon goes back to the White House and records his thoughts and he feels like he may have connected with some of those people there, whereas most of the students were probably happy to see him go and still didn’t like the guy. A statement really on perception and how people can be in the same room and hear the same things but really they hear something totally different based on their perspectives and their frames of reference, and folks can shake hands and smile at each other but never really come together. So this movie is about a weird little meeting in the middle of the night that only a handful of people knew about, and really this meeting of the minds led to nothing more than some interesting photographs and now this short film.