Search Museum of the Moving Image

The Hottest August

Feb 22 — Mar 1, 2020

A complex portrait of a city and its inhabitants, The Hottest August offers a window into the collective consciousness of the present. The film’s point of departure is one city over one month, canvassing the five boroughs of New York City during August 2017. It’s a month heavy with the tension of a new President, heightened anxiety over everything from rising rents to marching white nationalists, and recurring news reports of wildfires and hurricanes along the coasts. Brett Story (The Prison in Twelve Landscapes), her camera and crew survey the community, asking (sometimes explicitly, other times implicitly) what the future looks like from where they are standing, knowing all along that not everyone stands in the same place. The Hottest August offers a mirror onto a society on the verge of catastrophe, registering the anxieties, distractions, and survival strategies that preoccupy ordinary lives. “This collection of interactions with ordinary people is a cinematic gift both simple and multilayered, an intellectual challenge and an emotional adventure.”—Glenn Kenny, The New York Times, Critic’s Pick