Such a brilliant and timely film. This filmmaking was great, I particularly appreciated that the filmmakers didn’t vilify any of these children. I was worried going in that there may be some unwarranted negative portrayals of these kids, but it was less about individual views in general, and more about the structural issues in our democracy. I saw the film showing how our democratic process incentivizes immoral or dishonest behavior.
Two things that this documentary reminded me of was Goldings seminal novel “The Lord of The Flies“, as well as Michel Hanekes film “The White Ribbon”. I saw the obvious parallels to “The Lord of the Flies” regarding themes of individuality and adolescent governance, but I kept thinking of “The White Ribbon” because it shows how easily morality can be compromised at a young age, and how that can potentially have very negative effects going forward.
I thought the editing in this was so good. Every cut had intent and the pacing was better for it. I loved the use of marching band music and percussion cadences as the majority of the score. It totally fit the aesthetic and tone of the film, and probably saved a lot of licensing costs. The subjects of the film were all very interesting and distinct.
I think conceptually this is pretty genius. A Boys State conference like this, is one of the most accessible ways to show a fairly accurate microcosm of American Politics. This microcosm shows you why politicians attack each other, why diverse representation remains a problem, and why lying is often rewarded. Its not all grim though. It also shows a generation with shifting social stances, a group of kids passionate about public service, and a desire to find common ground. Overall this was a very balanced portrait of partisan society that I think a majority of people can get value from.