Trailer: New Doc ‘All Light, Everywhere’ Explores the Truths and Deceptions of the Camera Image

There is no overstating the bravery of then-17-years-old Darnella Frazier, who made a 10-minute recording of the murder of George Floyd, which eventually became the crucial evidence in the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who committed the despicable crime. Said conviction also spoke particularly pointedly to the ambivalence of our rapidly changing relationship with surveillance, which can just as easily go terribly wrong.

A fascinating new documentary, tellingly titled All Light, Everywhere (an Official Selection at Sundance, release date June 4 via Sandbox Films), directly explores the harrowing reality that such a disconcerting amount of our lives is now being insidiously captured on camera, without our express consent. It’s written and directed by Theo Anthony (Rat Film), and if the first trailer is any indication, it is meant to be as unsettling as the subject would suggest. It opens on the head of a shadowed man insisting, “I believe God sees everything. And that he not only sees where you are, but what you’re doing and what you’re thinking.”

Of course, most religions have relied on precisely that belief in order to instill the proper level of fear – and thus obedience – in their followers. (And also keep the soul-saving donations rolling in.)

But what the film really seems to be asking is, What if surveillance were to grow to a similar level of omnipotence as religion, and was widely employed to the same effect? To keep the citizenry in line through fear? The trouble, of course, is that even the camera tells lies – and sometimes we can’t necessarily believe our own eyes.

The trailer then moves on to a scene where a Baltimore police officer states, “The point is to ensure that everyone is acting in a professional manner…as always.” He’s referring, of course, to police bodycams, meant to discourage abhorrent/unlawful behavior in those they are attached to. We then hear a voice bluntly stating, “Cameras don’t take sides – just remember that.” Yet they can be convinced to take sides, can they not? Especially in a court of law.

Ultimately it’s a film centered on the question of whether law enforcement is actually making society safer via surveillance, or is it just allowing for those in positions of power to exert greater control over our lives? And does contemporary technology have authority over us, or we it?

Surely there’s an incisively funny South Park episode coming soon on this very subject. In the meantime, All Light, Everywhere can surely help lead us closer to the answers to those very questions.

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