Screened as part of NZIFF 2017
Political turmoil in the United States takes on a movingly personal aspect through this judiciously edited archive of street marches and public demonstrations, shot since the 2000 Republican Convention by filmmakers Michael Galinski and Suki Hawley. The day after Galinski graduated from high school in 1987, the Klu Klux Klan marched in his North Carolina hometown. He photographed the procession and recorded community reactions to this demonstration of spent power. “It’s an artefact,” says one bystander, “the last opportunity to see something like that.”
Her words haunt the film that follows, as we encounter a succession of protests and counter-protests – against the Iraq War, against poverty, against the erosion of voting rights, against the normalisation of police force, against the bailing out of the banks, for the Confederate Flag, for Bernie, for and against Trump.
The filmmakers catch illuminating altercations between members of opposing factions – young men of Occupy Wall Street vs an old school liberal Democrat, Trump supporters vs detractors gathered for the inauguration – while keeping a vigilant eye on the role of the police in protecting the targets of dissent.