American Passages reveals some of the movements in society which finally result in the election of Donald Trump. At the same time the film is an impressive road-traveling collage of the U.S. at the advent of the Obama era. Although the film was ostensibly made to honor Robert Frank‘s famed 1958 photo essay, ”The Americans,“ no knowledge of that work is necessary to grasp Beckermann’s aims: snapshot cinematic views of a massive country in a moment in time, spanning races, classes and geographies like a peripatetic anthropologist. (Robert Koehler)
Initially, there’s that moment of happiness: an African-American celebrating in Harlem cheers “We’re free!” as if Barack Obama’s victory meant the ultimate end of slavery.
American Passages is an associative journey through the United States: a disillusioned Iraq veteran, gay adoptive fathers, black judges, white party animals and a pimp at a casino table in Las Vegas.
The extreme contrasts of black and white, rich and poor, winners and losers are often as surprising as the meaning of the constitutional right to the pursuit of happiness in these times of crisis.
An epic panorama of America.
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