Reliving the 2016 Election Night Through Film
This year, the Hamptons International Film Festival is showing two world premiere films addressing the 2016 presidential election. One, “11/8/16,” is a documentary from the director who covered the same ground in 2008, when Barack Obama was first elected president. The other is an acerbic fictional romp by Onur Tukel called “The Misogynists.”
Both films screened on Friday. “The Misogynists” will be shown again at 9:15 p.m. on Saturday; Jeff Deutchman’s documentary will be screened Sunday at 4 p.m., both in East Hampton.
In the “Misogynists,” Dylan Baker plays Cameron, a cad determined to bring his friend and colleague down with him in a night of extreme debauchery. The story could be a play, in that it takes place almost entirely in Cameron’s hotel room as the two men celebrate Donald Trump’s victory on a bender that becomes increasingly harmful to both of them. The pacing is tight and the absurdity aggregates, erupting into real hilarity several times.
The spectre of the election haunts the film and gives it its more macabre moments. After the screening, Mr. Tukel, who displayed the same manic energy of his film, said the movie was a reaction to fear. “I tend to make jokes when I’m scared,” he said.
Mr. Deutchman was also on hand to discuss his film, for which he culled 16 stories from 50 filmmaking teams, who followed different people all over the country throughout Election Day. From a Sikh man in New York City to a homeless couple in Hawaii, there are tales from coal country, Alabama, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Los Angeles, Chicago, Utah, and post-industrial Kingston, N.Y. among several others.
Fierce advocates for both candidates are part of the mix. Those for Mr. Trump include a small business owner who feels hampered and overtaxed by the Affordable Care Act and a coal miner in West Virginia and his family who fear what Hillary Clinton would do to their livelihood. Clinton supporters include a videographer for her campaign and a labor union boss. A woman in Utah canvases for Evan McMullin. Some of those on the sidelines, who reported on the day’s events and the dramatic unfolding story, were also followed, including Dave Davies from the WHYY public radio station in Philadelphia.
The coverage starts in the morning and tracks the subjects throughout the day, through the results and declaration of Mr. Trump’s win. The film teams produced 300 hours that Mr. Deutchman cut down to 104 minutes. “For a while my life was reliving this day over and over again,” he said. What emerged were subjects who “represented something distinct in this country” and “what these subjects believed about America," he said.
Some might say “too soon” to each of these films. There were a number of audience members who wiped away tears during “11/8/16,” which will have a theatrical release on Nov. 1 and will begin streaming on Nov. 3.
Audience members at “The Misogynists” told the director he perfectly captured the jumpiness of that night and the days following.