December 17, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST

There are no interviews in D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus’ behind-the-scenes documentary The War Room. There’s just human behavior as unraveled before the husband-and-wife filmmakers’ cameras during the 1992 Clinton campaign. ”I don’t know what I want to know,” Pennebaker says. ”I’m willing to hang out and find out whatever it is they’re willing to tell me.”

While hanging out with the staff for 20 days and shooting 33 hours of film — later combined with news footage for the final 93-minute version — the duo found out how tense and exhilarating life in the ”war room” can be. But managing to capture that on film took a while. At first, Hegedus says, strategists James Carville and George Stephanopoulos ”went out of the room to talk, and we’d go through this elaborate charade of taking off their microphones. Slowly they got tired of doing that.”

By the end, even the media-savvy Stephanopoulos took politically sensitive phone calls in front of the camera. ”Whatever happened that we got, he wanted it to be what we got,” Pennebaker says. ”The idea was that, years from then, he would look back and that would be what happened.”

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