tv Charlie Rose PBS February 17, 2017 3:59pm-4:59pm PST
>> welcome to the program. i'm allison stewart filling in for charlie rose. we begin with politics and a look at president trump's press conference earlier with ed o'keefe of the washington post. >> he said the leaks are fake and it left reporters scratching their heads. in essence you're confirming it but slapping us for bothering to report it and it caused a spirited if sometimes testy exchange. >> we continue by look at the master's documentary on maya angelou. >> when we began the documentary with the quote you will encounter many defeats and it's necessary you en counter defeat
so he know who you are was true for her and universally for all of us. >>ç"we conclude with a look at the oscar-nominated movie "fire at sea." >> he told me i have one question and you have questions and answers. you have to be able to go deeper and deeper and deeper in things. it's an important to let life unfold. >> politics and filmmaking when we condition. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by the following: >> 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. >> good evening. i'm allison stewart filling in for charlie rose. we begin this evening with politics. the first month of president trump's presidency continued on a tumultuous pass. and there was the resignation of michael flin and the labor secretary withdrew his nomination and earlier today president trump nominated alexander acosta and shot backs at claims the administration not
running smoothly. >> this administration is running like a fine-tuned machine despite the fact i can't get my cabinet approved and they're outstanding people. >> joining me is ed o'keefe from the washington post. tell me more about the new nominee for labor secretary. >> he would be donald trump's first hispanic to his cabinet for a cabinet that has not included many other minorities. he's currently the dean of the law school at florida university and a top prosecutor in florida. he's held positions in the justice department before and been confirmed by positions to the senate so the white house feels this should be more easy going than the pick which got caught up in a host of issues regarding his personal background and business practices and own personal
employment practices in his own home, if you will. >> explain why support from the republicans started to unravel. >> as of wednesday there were at least a dozen republicans telling top leaders they couldn't support this guy. he's had a checkered past. he's the head of the restaurant firm that owns hardee's and a supporter of president trump and has a reputable business record but there were concerns from a ran rough divorce with allegations of domestic abuse. he always denied it and he admitted to senators at one time he employed a house keeper who was an undocumented immigrant.
if there's one age-old rule in washington is the senate doesn't confirm somebody who employed an undocumented person and it's tripped up other nominations on that issues republicans senators said how can we have a labor secretary who couldn't follow federal labor laws that required him to pay taxes for his house keeper and employ people here legally. >> the press corps wanted to talk about michael flin and who knew what, when. did we get clarity? >> the president made clear throughout the news conference the issue wasn't that he was having discussions with people in russia but lied to the vice president and done so more than once. he said to me i don't have a problem with him speak with russian officials.
this is what people do during transitions they talk to officials in other countries. which is true. obama officials were doing that during the transition but wasn't discussing sensitive matters like sanctions and trump mostly batted it away but said the leaks is true but the news is fake to paraphrase the president on one occasion and left reporters scratching their heads. in essence you're confirming it but at the same time slapping us for bothering to report it and caused testy exchanges. it was free wheeling and went on an hour and 15 minutes. it was unexpected. it was hastily arranged mostly to talk about the labor secretary and evolved into the conversation with reporters that touched on not only flynn but the first lady and her status at
the white house and even immigration and the travel ban which still faces legal challenges across the country. >> did he signal at all who would be his next priority? >> he said that there will be changes regarding the travel ban and those issues next week. i didn't get into too many specifics but made clear there are changes. we had anticipated that. he confirmed it and said look, the issue for isn't going away. he was also asked about the program for the children of undocumented immigrants in the country and he said he wanted to undo it. he admitted it's one of the most difficult situations he's dealing with at president and says he doesn't want to deal with it because it's kids and as a father and grandfather it's sensitive and that kill cause concer
concern over those that wanted the board wall and now he's saying he won't go after the program but alison, frankly, it's only thursday. tomorrow could be another story. >> tell me what happened in real time that was interesting and something the media was criticized is there was fact-checking about president trump on his electoral vote. >> one reporter said the president repeatedly said he had the largest electoral vote count of recent republican presidents. he keeps saying it's 306 and 304 and george h. bush in 1988 won more than 400 and the president said that's the information i was given. in essence he was caught in a lie and in the moment the president react to the fact he was being fact-checked.
he took it in stride but it speaks to the fact this remains a president in his second month of presidency who remains deeply concerned about being taken seriously and still eager to settle scores from a year ago. he won the presidency. he's in charge. he's making change in the country's policy but still spent time today talking about hillary clinton and whether she was handed about what would be asked at the democrat primary debates on her work as secretary of state and he believes, wrongly, he had won one of the largest electoral vote counts in november's election. >> let's look forward. he has a rally this weekend. what is this? >> it's apparently campaign-style rally the white house officials said is being paid for by his 2020 re-election campaign. he's heading back to florida to get back in touch with the folks
who supported him where he enjoyed broad support. look, he's starting to do things here presidents normally do. today he blamed the previous administration. barack obama did that early on and getting out in the country and talk to everyday americans and explain his policies to them and to be re-energized by the sport of the people the interacts with and president obama if that and donald trump will do that as well. we were told early on he'd probably do this and see how it g gos goes. it's designed overtly to be a political rally. he's not meeting with the governor, no, he's going to florida for a political rally the white house said is being paid for by his political organization.
>> ed o'keefe of the washington post. thanks so much. >> great to be with you. good evening i'm allison stewart. maya angelou was an activist and dancer. her writings are some of the most influential works of the past century. the new documentary ma"maya angelou: and still i rise" chronicles her life and legacy. here's a look at the trailer. >> everybody in the world uses words. the writer has to take these most known things and put them together in a way the reader says i never thought of it that way before. i remember i was 7. in those ideas i read every book
in the black school's library. when i decided to speak i had a lot to say. >> she was a dancer. she was a beautiful sculpture. she was a writer. >> when i sought the pen to write i had to scrape it. >> i remember her being very angry. very angry. >> my mother taught me a lot. a lot of doing what's write. been a lot of doing what's right. >> i know know where the caged birds sings. it was a very important literary feat. >> caged bird was almost another bible for me. >> it was an opening for me to
wanting to be a writer. >> it was the first time i read something that resonated. i touched a very young girlish part of me. it reflected my own other's side. when i read it i couldn't believe that she was free enough to talk about it. >> i read the words and thought somebody knows who i am. >> she was big and had the voice of god. >> out of the hood of history's shame i rised. up from a past rooted in pain, i rised. i'm an an ocean, wide, willing and thrilling bringing the gift that my ancestors gave me. i am the hope and the dreams of the slaves so i rise.
i rise. i rise. >> joining me now are the film's directors bob hercules and the co-founder and principal of kate burg legacy. welcome. >> thank you, so much. >> you had an interesting relationship with her. you were a producer for her radio network on the oprah network. you spent time in her home. >> sometimes you feel as a filmmaker that everything that's happened has prepared you for what's happening next and when i went into her home to do that program it went from 2006 to 2010 i spent three to four days a month with her. and i didn't know at the time how much information i was gathering, how i was learning her family.
how i was learning president clinton might call and we might do an interview and hearing in the headset i realized it's a documentary. the best way to do that is to pull together her work and i'd been rereading her work as the result of the job and knew it was time to bring it to a new format so that more people might not be read but we needed to reach a wider audience and i met bob. >> how did she feel about the idea of documenting her life? >> first she said i don't need another thing. she did seven autobiographical memoirs and asked her if i knew
what i was asking of her and going over her life and said do you know what the industry is like and you want to do this and it will take you all over the world. she didn't have to say that and i'm still answering that question. the last thing she said, if you're going it take it, take it all the way which meant you better do a good job and that's what i think we tried to do. >> what made you laugh? >> that's classic grandma. let's not do anything halfway. >> clean that up. >> it amazes me, bob, no one had done a documentary about maya angelou. do you know why that was and what made you think i'm someone who could accomplish this? >> it was amazing for me. rita and i did not know each other when we started and i was musing about dr. angelou and i
had a picture with her about a project we did and thinking about her and doing research. i was amazed. nobody had ever made a film about maya angelou was shocking to me given the breadth of her story and how important she is in our culture. i just started to research and reread the books and get prepared and then i was introduced to rita through a mutual friend and our combined talent came together beautifully to make this film. it was a five-year project but it was a phenomenal five years. an incredible journey really and a great privilege, really, to be the ones to tell her story in the television format. >> i want to ask you a frank question, i know why i related to maya angelou and african american women, what related to you as a white male? >> that's a good question. i remember when i first read "i
know why the caged bird sings" an grew up in michigan in a white community, middle class, very far removed from an african american community and when i read that book and i'd read other books similar but that book essentially it's written in a poetic style and it's so honest. it's so unbelievably honest that it really caught me and made me in a way re-evaluate my place as a white male, privileged person, etcetera. one of knows books that hit me hard and in a good way. >> i want to pick up on something you said about maya angelou having to relive here life and parts that were incredibly painful and many joyous. what was that like as a filmmaker to go through the process and what was it like for her as she went through the process of narrating her own life? >> i think it was cathartic for
her and she wouldn't do anything halfway. she would bring her total self to it. so when you see the film you'll see moments when she's overcome with emotions. she relives it and moments when she's hilarious and not even trying to be just thinks back on an instance. sometimes it was painful to watch her go back there. it was also painful because she was a patient of copd and it wasn't widely known and we would do an hour of interviews and had to rest. she needed oxygen. for her to want to do it that much but once she was committed to it she was 100% there. i like to say when you're doing a subject versus subject matter you're responsible and have to be sensitive that you're working with a human being and with their spirit and soul and she's in her 80s. you're working with her life. you are have to be very very
respectful of that and let the story carry you and let her have the time and space to tell is. that's what we tried to do. >> colin, as her grandson watching your grandmother's life and hearing they'll details, some of the gritty detail, some their difficult to hear detail, what was that like for you as you know as grandma. >> i had two grandmas marguerite johnson and maya angelou. she has been open with me like her readers and all the people in her life. she's been an open look and wanting to talk about any of area of her life so we had talked about points in her life and spoke about different vantage points and from the story of being told in one sitting and au sit around the table for 20, 30, 40 years and
you hear the stories, one here and you skip years and go back and forth but to see it told from start to finish, that will give you the magnitude of who she was. what she traversed to get who she became. she didn't wake up and decide to be a powerful woman. it was a test of cut after cut after cut and success and failure and heartbreak and joyousness that brought her to the point of the clarity as well as is one of her biggest skills clarity on life and human beings. >> that's interesting because if you look from beginning to end i wonder as you listen to interviews was there something about her that never changed? >> well, she was always steadfast in being courageous. that's through her life with all the disappointments and joy and whatever happened to her she was enormously courageous and one of
her famous saying is courage is the thing she valued the most because you can't do all the other great things you might want to do it without having courage. i think that to me is what i witnessed in following her life story. she that'd -- had the courage to go to africa on short notice and experience that world and engage in the civil rights movement. to friends with martin luther king and malcolm x and there was a divide there. i admire her courage and ability to overcome obstacles constantly was amazing to me. >> what were two or three decisions she made that set the course of her life? >> well, with that said and he alluded to there's a through
line with the quote you will encounter many defeats but you may not be defeated but you it's necessary you encounter defeat so you know who you are and it's true universally for all of us. i think the fact she lost her voice and decided in and of herself and she was raped but she stopped speaking because she had enough in side her to say as horrible as that was she didn't want anybody to die. that's a high-level intellectual process for a girl to process. >> because she was a 7-year-old girl. >> she doesn't want anyone to die. that's very humanitarian. the people in her life who loved her at the point they loved her, helped her to grow and she was able to accept the love of her
paternal grandmother though her mother and father rejected her at the time and you have a woman, grandma henderson that runs a store and an entrepreneur that has land to white people. who did you have to be in the jim crow south and this is somebody she saw by osmosis every day and mrs. flowers, the teacher, that allowed her to learn poetry and eventually speak and who at some point doesn't have a good teacher and her brother, a cheerleader, a man beside her that wasn't after anything but her good will and the best for her. those helped her and focus her as a person. later on she would have a better relationship with her mother and struggle with the rejection but by then she was really supported organically by a community that
we hope will exist for all of us that we need very much. people who will teach her. uncle willy. all the component were there for faith, love, genuine brother love. those things supported her and because she saw them early she had a sensitivity to a handicapped person and the racism. she crossed color line later in the jim crow south to marry a white man which meant too in fact she understood reconciliation and forgiveness. >> you talked about the spiritual side but let's talk about her saucy, sassy, youth. i don't think a lot of people know what a performer she was. there's great clips in the film. let's look at one of them of maya angelou performing as a young woman. >> i stopped dancing and started
singing. >> i talked friends of mine going to this little club late '50s and what i remember is maya angelou making her entrance, very tall, very grand. no shoes. [♪] she was an original is an understatement. >> she was refined. she was a beautiful sculpture. >> i understood her earlier seeing the footage. what did you think when you
first saw that and first encountered. >> i thought she's a young woman at that time period, how many women were doing what she was doing and already had a young son. so she was bringing all that to herself and i talked to her about it and the things she had to go through i thought was extraordinary. it did take a lot of courage then to decide and would tell you i really wasn't a sanger but she sang. she really wasn't a cook, but she cooked. she did what she had to do to survive through the time and as she kept doing things she became stronger and stronger and more courageous and more knowledgeable about our culture in very many facets of it. >> people don't understand in
those years she was struggling to make a living. she had a very young son, guy johnson and she was struggling. she was dancing, she ended up singing because she would get more money to sing. it's hard to think she was struggling to keep things together and raise son without a husband. it was not an easy life. it looks like fun but it's a lot of work. >> it's what makes her attainable and that's the conversation i've had when she speaks there's a melody and a harmony and tension and release. she knows how to deliver a message and almost every one of her speaking engagements starts with her singing. it sets the tone and the rest
flows. she was a cook and then a chef. she used those moments to bring forward and did everything 100%. she brought everything to the table every moment she was there. >> she would start every interview with singing first to get her warmed up. it was amazing to watch. >> the love of music continued because she would interview for our radio program. she loved country music and martina mcbride she'd opened for and brooks and dunn she's in the video. someone sent her a $10,000 guitar i think montgomery gentry and started taking guitar lessons and this was in 2006. she kept ever growing but loved the music. she loved the lyricism of life
and that's one of her quotes, everything dances. she had a melody to her. >> i was struck by her adaptability and people talk about when she first encountered rap and hip-hop and sort of understand but also not sure about the way certain language was used. why was she able to adapt but maintain herself? >> the reality is what we've been saying my grandma is a lover of art and said that which is human cannot be foreign to me. i don't care what music or brand or instrument if it'sic -- music
from the heart she accepted it and understand if she didn't embrace hip-hop it would be a whole segment of people not attainable to her and has stories about tupac and she saw mike tyson in jail because he asked to see her and she went to the prison and spoke to him. she didn't separate herself and felt her pathway forward was the youth. if you don't have those people on board where are you going to go? >> she once said to me that people in her age group should ab shamed to die. they hadn't done enough for younger people and in the radio show i told her i thought she should talk to the rappers and she said i don't know and i said they're the poets of today and we did a show with kanye west
and a christian rapper and she read their work and words and though some of them she said doesn't carry the necessary comportment she went through that and would say maybe they'll start using some of those words in their time. but she said i will not let that separate me from them and wanted the artistry of generations and was raised by a much older woman and having her brother -- it was the cities and towns of arkansas and living in hawaii and living in egypt and london and ghana and living in new york and st. louis. it wasn't something that many people did. so you can actually track
history through her life, american and american history in a more colorful way than given facts and be honest history hasn't been told from a block woman's point of view. that's one of the things the documentary does. it give you more and you'll see video culled from 150 hours and that was her life. she was so well documented and self-documented with seven autobiographical memoirs and 36 books before she died. >> what did you learn about your grandmother after watching the film and going through the process of talking about her and thinking about her life? >> i don't know i learned one particular fact about her life.
i'm the only grandson so i spoke to her for 41 years. she wanted me to understand her story and things she went through because it's part of our family story and she's maya angelou. this is history. what i have learned is is more about how other people receive her and we've gone to screenings and bob's gone a hundred time more than i have and one thing we saw from the academy of motion pictures is a woman said she felt healed after seeing the documentary and it's such a powerful story whether she wrote one or two books you don't see the breadth and if people's breath were taken away by that, when they see the full story the
full impact of who she is and why i'm proud to be part of this. it would not have happened any other way if these two people hadn't come together and formed a relationship with my grandmother and i stand proud to be her grandson and do my part to carry her legacy down the road. >> he called her grandma. >> no, always eat the food that's been given to you when you're at somebody else's table. for me the biggest thing she gave me was a statement she said she's the hand at the small of my back. she will let the stumble but never let me fall and she watched out for me before and continues to now and i have pieces of evidence to say she continues to have a hand in my
life. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> "maya angelou: and still i rise" premiers tuesday february 21st at 8:30 eastern on pbs. when we come back we talk to gianfranco rosi the director of "fire at sea." >> good evening. i'm editor and chief of bloomberg filling in for charlie rose. the new oscar-dominated movie from gianfranco rosi is set in the tiny island which has played a role in the immigrant crisis and half a million people have landed there and nearly 30,000 have died. "the new york times" rights gianfranco rosi does not spare his view as glimpses of horror
>> i'm please to have gianfranco rosi at it table for the first time. perhaps you can begin by describing the island what it's like in italy. >> it's closer to tunisia and usually out of maps and wasn't known and more and more it's becoming the reference for the humanitarian -- >> it's always been welcoming to refugees? >> the last 50 years it's been the getaway of europe. it's on the border of europe and the beacon of freedom where
people land and unfortunately more than 27,000 people died there's the imaginary. >> do you think there's something special about the island? at one point the character says a fisherman collects things from the sea. >> i started inquiring. and a was told to tell the story because it's a tragedy. and he told me something very profound he said fisherman always welcome anything from the sea.
>> a mixture of heaven and hell and you have this heaven which seems heavenly and you choose characters not that well off. the main character is a boy i'm going ask you about. he's not having a particular happy life but his life seems idyllic in some ways compared to the people on the ocean. >> i didn't know anything about the island and for me it was important for me and the people started with the journey and there was a link with the past
and i met boy in the beginning and i wanted the point of view from the aye -- a kid because there's a freedom and he's alive and always growing up there and everything he does is a small life and a small event on life. and it's a coming of age and the harshness of a boy growing up and dealing with life and through his inward and deals with migrants. and has to do with the island. >> did you choose him at all
because he was -- he's not an idyllic kid. he runs around trying to hit birds. >> he's an outsider a little bit. he's like a woody allen with his idiosyn idiosync and evokes something else but when i met him i remember like and i looked at him with his shot and asked how good he is and he said very good and he turned and me and said you need passion in life. in that moment i knew he would be the protagonist of my film. >> you don't do question and
answer. people call it fly on the wall. you just show things. you don't rint rupt. you don't interrupt. >> a plen for -- a mentor told me if you have questions you have answers it's not interesting. you have to go deeper and deeper in things. sometimes it's important to let life unfold in front of the camera. [speaking foreign language]
>> you let death unfold and it's incredibly powerful. >> i met death on the border and that was painful and dramatic because i was shooting in the middle of the sea when i encountered that. it was many of the many rescues i participated in and spent 40 days on the navy vessel in the mediterranean sea and i decided should i film this or not and thought this is a tragedy the world should see and people are
trying to escape from tragedy, war, hunger. i met once a man and i said what makes you do this choice and go on to sea when you know you might die and he looked me in the eyes and said might for us is hope. here in libya we will die and if we cross the sea we might survive so lampedusa for people is a beacon of freedom and we do betray the people and they spend no more than two or three days there and go to italy and -- >> did you want to intervene in the migration center and places like that? >> to do something? >> yes. >> well, i felt very very strong
the harshness and i spent time talking to the people and trying to understand and the people in the boats and rarely was able to pull the camera between me and them without feeling the aftercall of the separation the camera was creating and i was able to grab the moment which was important to let people know they're not just numbers. it's beyond the numbers there's a person and someone looking at you and asking for help. >> i'm intrigued. in america a place where immigrants are normally lauded and the cowards never left and immigrants are seen as a good thing and yet there isn't much sympathy and they protested at
the airport. >> it was a day when they were announcing something very terrible and people could not arrive anymore. these are people that were in lampedusa and people coming out of the tragedy of syria and it was terrible to come to the states and see fear in the face of the people is something i never experienced. >> fear in trying to stop people from coming through. >> they were not able to arrive from places they were leaving. there were lawyers and people in tears the day they arrived in los angeles and i witnessed this it gave me a sense of shock and what's happening and ask what happened when america turns to
history and -- >> do you accept at all there's a lot of people throughout europe and in the united states who don't want to have as many as immigrants and we're seeing that continually in the politics anywhere and somewhere it has to be policed and maybe that place has to be lampedusa. >> i believe strongly all the world will take an action on this because it's a problem that can be resolved only if the whole nation of the world comes together and deals with that like something altogether can be something and when there's 20,000, 50,000 people and there's death in the middle of the sea would they be spared in europe if you take certain numbers and there's the need to -- >> if there were open borders there'd be many more than that. >> yes, there has to be some rules but the people in libya
it's not their choice to be there and they cannot go back or go forward. they're condemned to death. the answer is the world and the frontier, the sea. what scares me most is not the physical world they're condemned to what scares me is the mental war and that's what scares me is the politics in europe and america. >> on questions on the movie again why call it "fire at sea" explain that. >> it's the name of a song laden with tragedy during the second world war when they are were fire bombed by a british and there was an island many people died and it was a tragedy and
you hear the song everywhere it's almost the name of the island. it's very curious because i keep hearing the strong and it grabs your attention. then i asked what's it mean and the name of it and they said "fire at sea" and they told me the story but the song is light. the lightness of the strong describing a tragedy was important not because -- it's almost my way where it's a song you can laugh. there's moments of lightness. >> one line you said you don't like taking any pictures with a blue sky. you always like having a stormy sky. >> well, it's very difficult. a one-man crew when i film so for me every day becomes trying to find the right moment.
i spent like three months before i started shooting in lampedusa because i have to know the people and that is more important about my work i like to create the chance to create things and when i bring the camera because of the transformation of things and i always -- there's the unknown. i put the camera and something happened i didn't expect and also it becomes an incredible for the camera. to me waiting for the clouds is a way of maybe postponing the day i have to shoot. ok, today the sky's blue i'll wait. i'll wait for tomorrow. it's like putting a boundary to postpone the day of the shooting. as i say it's painful for me when i put the camera there but most the time it's about missing things not gaining things when i
film. >> do you hope the film will change thing for the refugees? >> i've been asked this so so many times and people ask me what do you think the film will bring. i'm very aware it my not change the course of history but i hope it will change awareness. i came back from japan and there's a strong impact with the audience. i have so many times they've come to me and said what can i do so if ten people come out asking what can they do, it's an incredible achievement and there's a moment in the film where there's a cry of help from the people sinking in the sea and during the night and saying help, help, help and the guy from the coast guard says what's your position. for me this is such an important thing. i'd like to reverse that and have people ask what's my
position towards the tragedy what can i do and if a few people ask that it was worth make the film. >> it's an eloquent presentation. gianfranco rosi, thank you very much. >> thank you to you. it was a pleasure. >> for more about the program and early episodes visit us onlin at pbs.org and charlierose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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