A fascinating and well-crafted portrait of grass-roots democracy in action, 11/8/16 also offers a vibrant snapshot of a country defined by both its divided national politics and its unified local communities. On election day 2016, cameras travel the length and breadth of the United States, following voters, campaigners, commentators and activists from across the political spectrum as they gear up to find out whether Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump will be their next president. Continue reading…
The stories that emerge are inspiring, infuriating and, often, desperately moving; from immigrants faced with an uncertain future and young female activists desperate to see the first woman president to hardened Trump supporters who believe only he speaks their language and journalists filled with professional excitement as this unprecedented story unfolds.
Of course, hindsight gained from 12 months of a tumultuous Trump presidency gives all of these stories a retrospective resonance; particularly as his supporters speak with vehement optimism about how he will ‘drain the swamp’ and make life considerably better. It would certainly be interesting to see a follow-up documentary.
The strength of 11/8/16, however, lies not just in the balance of those interviewed – including abstainers and third party supporters along with the Trump/Clinton rank and file – but also in its construction. Much of its power lies in the hands of editors Martha Shane and Jon Lefkovitz, who have turned hundreds of hours of footage into a patchwork of entertaining vignettes that, knitted together, become a chronological, coherent and insightful narrative which does not overpower the individual stories.
Whatever your politics, it’s impossible not to view this remarkable 24 hours as an eye-opening slice of social history. And its lingering message is clear; whomever they voted for, and whatever their views on the polarising issues, the majority of ordinary people are hungry for change.