Sunday, October 1, 2023 Oct 1, 2023
78° F Dallas, TX

AFI Last Night: One Nation

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Last night at NorthPark, I took in the premiere of One Nation, a documentary by three local filmmakers (Justin Wilson, Tony Wann, and Jack Waldrip) that uses songs, news footage, commercials, and all sorts of other pictures and sounds to recreate the turbulent year of 1968. Moving through the year chronologically, One Nation is intense and even funny at times (it includes a commercial for Colt .45, when the malt liquor was positioning itself as an elite beverage for white folks), using only the raw material the year provided with no outside comment. That’s not to say there isn’t a strong point of view or a strong way of expressing it. The most powerful sequence begins with a clip of Johnny Cash performing “Ring of Fire,” and gradually, that’s mashed up with footage of the U.S. Army making its way through Vietnam with flamethrowers. It’s a little bit long and the month-by-month setup means some of the more important events (the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the assassinations of MLK and RFK) happen well before the climax. But it’s well worth seeing — especially if you, like me, didn’t live through 1968 the first time. One Nation screens again tomorrow at 4:15 p.m. at the Magnolia.