Expired February 17, 2021 5:00 AM
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This humorous documentary road trip centers around the slabs of the Berlin Wall that have, over the last 30 years, somehow made their way to America. Some of them are curios for the public, unceremoniously dumped and neglected, others are afforded a measure of context, and still others have been commodified as symbols of freedom in the unrelenting capitalist maw of the Mall of America or the Universal Studios lot. (There are two such monoliths in the Boston area—at the Hult International Business School and at the JFK Library.) Co-directed by Courtney Stephens (Mixed Signals) and Pacho Velez (The Reagan Show, and many shorts) who have both had previous films screened at the DocYard, this survey of memorabilia takes the form of insightful man-on-the-street interviews. These sequences are always fascinating and entertaining, but never flippant: the geographical and political reverberations of where these Wall segments are found is also a vital part of this film. Interviewees make linkages between the Berlin Wall and symbols of nationalism, a nostalgic past, and racism in America. Stephens’ and Dounia Sichov’s editing intelligently strings together complex ideas, without over-emphasizing simplistic connections. With ongoing public contestation of Confederate monuments in this country, it’s poignant and moving to consider what we’ve done to mythologize, memorialize, or forget the meaning of another iconic structural barrier.


"The explorations undertaken by the directors Courtney Stephens and Pacho Velez in their documentary ‘The American Sector’ turn a high concept into high political drama.” - Richard Brody, New Yorker

  • Year
  • Runtime
    70 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Courtney Stephens and Pacho Velez
  • Editor
    Courtney Stephens and Dounia Sichov