People I Know

Director: Daniel Algrant
Screenwriters: Jon Robin Baitz

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


The brilliance of People I Know is in the creation and positioning of its unlikely hero—Eli Wurman. With a clever, insightful script and riveting direction, and using camera angles to reinforce the unsavory underpinnings of celebrity entitlement and political scandal the film exposes, Daniel Algrant creates a perfect dichotomy between the outside and inside of a privileged world.

Al Pacino heats up the screen as Eli Wurman, a New York press agent pushed to his physical and emotional limits. For decades, Eli has been one of Manhattan's most renowned press agents—the guy who knows everyone. A die-hard liberal, he struggles to keep his self-respect, deteriorated after years of client abuse, by throwing fundraisers and fighting the good fight. His luck goes from mediocre to bad when he is called upon to baby-sit a tortured TV actress, a discarded plaything from his biggest client. Maneuvering through a drug-enhanced night lands him smack in the middle of a huge scandal that even he cannot survive unscathed.

Cast members Tea Leoni, Kim Basinger, and Ryan O'Neal, as the spoiled client, are terrific. But it's the telltale flash in Pacino's eyes that makes People I Know come alive on screen.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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