For some, the last four years have felt like a surreal purgatory nightmare that you can’t wake up from. If you can relate, then you’re probably biting your nails in anticipation of election day. For those of us who are ready for this reign of xenophobia, racism, disinformation, and increasing tyranny to end, then the 2020 election is arguably the most important election of our lifetimes. We. Have. To. Vote. If you’re still on the fence, or you’ve lost faith in the Electoral College, or you’re just being lazy because you live in a staunchly red or blue state, just remember what happened four years ago—anything can happen. And if you still need a nudge, we have seven titles that serve as emphatic reminders why your vote is needed.
Did Russia meddle in the 2016 presidential election? This doc is a satirical imagining of what that could have looked like, and it’s utterly bizarre. The blatant propaganda, the fake news, and the information warfare tactics seen in the film might seem absurd, but like any good satire, they are merely exaggerated reflections of our reality. It’s no wonder critics are calling it “wildly funny” and “head-spinningly bizarre,” but also “a devastating wake-up call for Americans.” So did Russia get involved four years ago? Besides the overwhelming evidence in the form of hacking, suspiciously timed firings, the conviction of several close Trump associates, and many more compelling examples, you might be closer to answering that question by the end of this film.
Fans of political cartoons, “The Nib” is a must-watch for you. The fast-paced animated series covers broad ground on American politics with rapier wit, biting humor, and sometimes necessarily dark satire. Because when your targets are police brutality, inflated military spending, mass incarceration, systemic racism, a petulant wannabe-dictator president, literal Nazis, and so on, you’re going to need to arm yourself with some sharp commentary. For example? Check out the new Broadway show starring the original Blue Man Group—the police!—called “Gravestones and Nightsticks.” “It’s been slaying audiences across the US.”
If you’re still scratching your head over how an inexperienced corrupt businessman could have won the highest office in the country, then look no further than “Angry White Men.” This film adaptation of sociologist Michael Kimmel’s book is a candid look at the demographic of Americans who ushered Trump into the White House. It’s a critical sociological examination of what happens when the unheard and powerless are left to stew in their anger and hatred for decades. They will probably latch onto the first tantalizing alternative to the traditional political order, especially if that someone reinforces all their fear-based beliefs and emboldens them to come out of hiding. On a more optimistic note, the film also looks at those who are trying to reverse course and counter the growing movement of intolerance.
America is a free country that should put authoritarian governments like China’s to shame, right? What separates us is our unequivocal freedoms, like freedom of speech and freedom of the press, yeah? Enter “Chimerica.” Based on Lucy Kirkwood’s hit play, the drama series follows an American photojournalist who is on a mission to find the identity of Tank Man, the infamous lone protester at Tiananmen Square, and Chinese dissident Zhang Lin, who assists Lee for his own personal reasons. The series also looks at the state of the press under Trump’s presidency and finds shocking parallels to China’s regime of censorship and media manipulation. Come for the engrossing story, stay for the eye-opening political revelations.
This two-minute-long documentary is like a punch in the gut. A diverse group of people are asked how they feel about Trump’s America and their reactions can be summed up with anger, anxiety, and “sick to my stomach.” And their pained facial reactions clearly indicate frustration, helplessness, and exhaustion. Some feel guilty for not doing more to create change, some fear for their immigrant status, and some feel like their president couldn’t care less about them. Paging Joe Biden: I think you’ve found your next campaign video.
You remember how you felt when he won. Now imagine how Mexicans felt, just months after Trump called them “criminals,” “drug dealers,” and “rapists,” and after a divisive campaign that promised to build a border wall. This short doc shows you exactly how Mexico felt, through footage of people near the Mexico-US border and audio of news segments on Trump’s inauguration day. But perhaps the most powerful statement the film makes is its juxtaposition of audio from Trump’s inauguration speech against the long lines of cars waiting to cross the border into America.
Trump’s proposed border wall might be intended to keep Mexican and Central American migrants from entering the US, but it can’t stop them from dreaming of a better life and future. In this four-part docuseries, four migrant children stuck in a Tijuana shelter with their families describe the life they imagine awaits them in the US. Fourteen-year-old Hemer dreams of becoming an accomplished artist and starting a skateboarding crew. Amayrani, 13, just wants to be a good student. But the most heartbreaking interview is with 8-year-old Santos, who cheerfully says he’s going to talk to Trump when he gets released from the shelter. “I want to tell him not to kick us out, because I’m not going to do any bad things.”