Now on Hulu, Every light, everywhere is the second-longest effort by documentary filmmaker Theo Anthony, whose debut work, Mouse movie, which used the rat infestation in his hometown of Baltimore as a springboard to explore the city’s history. All the lights may have more in common with Anthony’s 30 for 30 short, Objects to consider, on the use of instant replay in professional tennis; both films analyze ideas about the camera and human perception from a philosophical perspective. . average TV-remote-controller.
Gist: It begins with a lesson in human anatomy: where the optic nerve connects to the eye is a natural blind spot, but we are designed not to notice it. That must be a problem in the way we see the world around us, if not a full blown fatal flaw, right? That shouldn’t stop us from trying to make sense of things, though, and when you frame it like this, it makes us look like unfortunate idiots. Anyway, next we see researchers equip participants with sensitive headgear designed to detect reactions to media content – think A Clockwork Orange but, you know, a lot nicer.
And then, the main narrative theme of the film is introduced as we see a PR guy named Steve Tuttle tour the corporate offices and production floors of a company called Axon, which produces drones, bodycams, drones and other law enforcement tools. This place, with its elevated walkways, glass and metal structures, and the terrifyingly large frosted glass “black box” office that hovers above the rest of the workspace, looks like something out of the ordinary. in a Marvel movie. As of 2018, half of all US police departments used bodycams, and 85% of them were made by Axon. Steve optimistically tells us all about the operation, hand-built cams and AI learning software, and how camera bodies are designed to mimic the human eye, because something like original vision Infrared night vision can distinguish the truth about what happened in a police incident from the officer’s point of view.
From there, we see: Officers of the Baltimore Police Department during a bodycam training seminar. How the development of the gatling gun in the 19th century contributed to the technology of motion pictures and the invention of a rather understandable device known as the “photographic rifle”. How men used to attach cameras to pigeons to take pictures from above, and how we use drones and planes to do the same. Scenes from a community center in Baltimore, where a prominent white man tries to sell a drone surveillance system operated by a private company as a crime deterrent, as his remarkable Black audience debated its effectiveness (“Back the camera,” one man, skeptical of the proposition). And some of the scenes where Anthony reminds us we’re watching a movie in which he drives the story, this ties into Axon and the idea that whoever holds the camera delivers the final message. .
What movies will remind you of?: Every light, everywhere sometimes like Herzog’s divine intersection (think Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World) and Errol Morris’s documentary on Interrotron (my favorite might be Fast, Cheap and Uncontrollable).
Performances worth watching: If you have a low tolerance for corporate voice, you’ll want to beat Tuttle hard and far, like the fourth and beyond from deep in your own territory.
Memorable dialogue: The Werner Herzog Do Internet Dream of Itself Award for Curious Voiced Narratives for Loony went to Keaver Brenai when she said of the Axon company, “It feels like watching a corporate dream out loud” , and reselect the sequence a few beats later: “From history dreaming of the future?”
Gender and Skin: Not available.
Our Take: Axon can control the story when it comes to police bodycams, but Anthony controls the story as Axon controls the story, represented by Steve Tuttle’s corporate tour. Therefore Every light, everywhere really grapples with ideas of objectivity versus subjectivity, namely that the quest for the former inevitably ends in the latter, because consciousness leads to the development of the concept of the former, the latter. which is forever spoiled by the inevitability of the latter. I think. Lots of snakes are eating their tails here as ideas are perpetually explored one step further, from Anthony’s calm, collected perspective.
In a fresh way, the film’s cool calm separates it from controversial politics. Its voiceover is flat, almost robotic, and its overall tone is rooted in analytical curiosity. It’s tempting to say that Anthony loses focus – and I know it’s a loose pun – on the current subject, even though his tangent lines are sharp tortuous, with a playful look, almost marvel at the science of classical photography. One of the more intriguing side trips involves using phrenology and composite photographs as tools to determine what “criminals” look like – a pursuit that leads directly to eugenics.
The film finds the most human elements in footage of Baltimore residents debating the obvious utilitarianism of surveillance technology with ideas rooted in idealism and research. The more flawed side of the human point of view also manifests itself in the developer of the “spy plane” drones using the phrase “god vision,” followed by his admission that vision very high words is what he believes. his god will be seen. Sometimes emerging from the subtext is the notion that systemic corruption compromises objectivity, and the prime example is Axon, which only offers angles from a law enforcement perspective. Bodycams seem like a clear step forward in fair control, but when the rubber hits the road, they’re more of a problem than a utilitarian one.
Our call: INSTRUCTIONS IT. Every light, everywhere It’s a far cry from a typical documentary, layered and dense with fodder, and at times more like a collection of essays on a big – huge – central concept. However, it eventually comes to a point.
John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more of his work at johnserbaatlarge.com.
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