Marshall Curry film traces rising Democratic Party star's first big run for office, in Newark, New Jersey
Long before Cory Booker became a Senator from New Jersey and a national figure, he set his sights on a slightly less prominent -- if no less challenging -- office: Mayor of Newark, New Jersey.
His bid to wrest control of City Hall from a veteran machine politician was documented in the 2005 film Street Fight, which earned an Oscar nomination for director Marshall Curry. For the first time Netflix is streaming the documentary, just in time for the long Labor Day Weekend.
In the middle of this bare-knuckles campaign season it’s also a refreshing reminder about the importance of fighting a good fight while still keeping your soul.
That brutal race for Mayor in 2002 exposed generational and class divides between the two candidates -- the young, idealistic and well-educated Booker going up against incumbent Sharpe James, a flinty character who had ruled the city for years.
Street Fight is considered by many to be one of the best political documentaries of all time. Along with its Academy Award nomination the film won audience awards from the Tribeca Film Festival and the AFI/Silverdocs Festival. It was named Best International Documentary at the Hotdocs festival in Toronto.
Curry pronounced himself delighted with the Netflix announcement. In a statement released by the streaming service's PR team he said, "I'm really glad to see the film available again for audiences. It’s a story that reveals a lot about the health of democracy in America. In the middle of this bare-knuckles campaign season it’s also a refreshing reminder about the importance of fighting a good fight while still keeping your soul.”
The junior Senator from New Jersey, who took office in October of 2013, reportedly made Hillary Clinton's shortlist of possible vice presidential running mates. That slot eventually went to another Senator -- Tim Kaine of Virginia. Booker did earn a prominent speaking opportunity at the Democratic National Convention, where Clinton became the first woman to secure a major political party's presidential nomination.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.