Filmmaker Jeff Deutchman brings us his second installment in his election series. A follow up to his take on the 2008 run, Deutchman follows 16 subjects from across the country, all ranging in socio-economic and political backgrounds, as they move throughout election day, unbeknownst to what shift that day will cause. With aid from filmmakers spread out across states, Deutchman portrays our country on the brink of a social tsunami.
The most beneficial component to the film was the different perspectives that were examined. A veteran Latino, a politically unenthused nomad, an (attempted) unbiased partisan, a coal miner from West Virginia, a thoughtful Sikh from Queens. Each had their reasons for their beliefs, and each belief was given an attempt at validity.
At the start of the documentary, the watcher’s omnipresent viewpoint was fully intact. Yet as the film rolled on, that unattached view slowly melted away, transporting viewers back to that rollercoaster of hope and defeat that was election day. I grew restless in my seat, my chest growing tight and heavy.
At a first glance, this film missed the “commonality” factor that felt needed to tie in the stories and create a sense of wholeness. But in reflection, I, like many others, have never experienced that near tangible divide in mindset than I did on that day, and every day since. The slight state of separation between each subject was necessary to emulate the characteristics of that day.
The biggest success of this project was the demonstration of ignorance at every level, on every side. Some subjects displayed their ignorance in the most basic sense, from false information on the candidates, to little knowledge about who was even running. Other’s proved they didn’t comprehend larger concepts such as the heaviness of sexual assault and the pervasiveness of misogyny in our culture. For some subjects, it felt as if they were voting for life or death. For others, the outcome meant little to nothing.
Though this film aims to be unattached to one specific political party, there is an aftertaste of a democratic standpoint. Whether this was intentional or not is unclear, but I am curious to see how this story reads on a national scale.
11/8/16 is in theaters and on-demand on November 3rd. Watch the trailer, here.