HIFF Now Showing Series Continues with ‘The Final Year’ Saturday

Scene from "The Final Year," Courtesy HIFF
Scene from “The Final Year,” Courtesy HIFF

Curated by the Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) and presented at Guild Hall in East Hampton, the Now Showing series of movie screenings continues with The Final Year this Saturday, January 20 at 6 p.m.

The series features first run, acclaimed art house, independent and world cinema currently in theaters, but not showing on the East End, on select Saturday nights at Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater.

For The Final Year, filmmaker Greg Barker gained access to key members of outgoing US President Barack Obama‘s administration for an unprecedented look at the shaping of US foreign policy—all filmed during 2016 and the last 12 months of his presidency. Along with Obama, the film features administration members such as Secretary of State John Kerry, Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, confidant and speech writer Ben Rhodes and others. (Watch trailer below.)

“While TV shows from The West Wing to Madam Secretary have invented dramas from this milieu, never has a documentary captured the real players so much in the moment,” HIFF notes, describing The Final Year.

The globe-spanning journey involves stops on multiple continents as Obama and his people go about the business of governance. Rhodes, who’s described as sharing a “mind meld” with Obama, joins the President on historic visits to Ho Chi Minh City, Hiroshima, and Havana. Power seeks to put ordinary people at the heart of foreign policy in Nigeria and Cameroon. Kerry negotiates at the UN for a Syrian ceasefire and bears witness to global warming in Greenland. And every move they make stirs reactions from media, Congress and the public.

While the documentary doesn’t claim to explore political complexities better left to history books, The Final Year does a wonderful job demonstrating the humanity of these policy makers in times of breakthrough, setback and tragedy. This perspective would be remarkable in any year, but 2016 stands out as US foreign policy changed dramatically with the advent of Donald Trump and his incoming administration.

“The contrast is clear in every minute of the film,” HIFF’s press materials point out, noting that The Final Year will “serve as a vital document” as we gain further distance from the Obama years.

See The Final Year at Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater in East Hampton (158 Main Street) this Saturday, January 20 at 6 p.m.

HIFF’s Now Showing series continues with a screening of The Divine Order at Guild Hall on Saturday, January 27 at 6 p.m. Look for more about this next week.

For tickets and info, visit hamptonsfilmfest.org.

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