With a deceptively subtle ease, locally-based filmmaker Brett Story has become one of the most astute chroniclers of the turmoil simmering underneath the surface of the U.S.A. Her last film, the incendiary The Prison in Twelve Landscapes, looked at how the corruption of the American prison system has spread far beyond those maximum-security walls and into the fabric of everyday life with a piercing matter-of-factness that was impossible to shake. Now, in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election, she takes her camera through each of the five boroughs of New York City to talk to people of all stripes about their current cultural attitudes during a climate as heated as the record-breaking temperatures.
When so much of the political rhetoric lies in the hands of obnoxious television personalities and corporately-owned media, it’s refreshing to hear real people open up and speak about their situations, regardless of what those may be. Inspired by the classic French work of Cinéma verité, Chronicle of a Summer, Story and her team wander around the largest American metropolis to capture just that.
All the important issues at stake in today’s modern world are covered and Story doesn’t shy away from boomers who have questionable ideas about things outside of themselves. But make no mistake, this is still a progressive-leaning project and young people all over the city get to voice their concerns for the way the world is going as well as offer smart and viable solutions.
At once a deeply human portrayal of a society in flux and an urgent political call to action, particularly for the very present problem of climate change that is embedded in the scorching atmosphere, The Hottest August is a film with its finger on the pulse of what’s actually happening in our communities.
- Genre: documentary
- Release Date: 10/15/2019
- Directed by: Brett Story
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