Available starting today, August 14, on the Music Box Theatre virtual cinema link is the extremely timely documentary "Represent." The film follows three women in the Midwest running for local public office and going up against the entrenched political machines in their respective cities.
No area of the country has more swing states than the Rust Belt/Great Lakes region, and perhaps no demographic will be more impactful this election cycle than women. Represent opens with a montage of tv newsers talking up the "year of the woman in politics" trope, in several years past.
The montage serves to showcase what a meaningless cliche that narrative is almost on par with how the media tells us every four years that the current Presidential election is the most important one ever. That said, the virtual release fell on August 14, 2020 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed and protected women’s right to vote.
Coincidentally, three days prior to release Democratic nominee Joe Biden named his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris. She's just the fourth woman ever to be involved at the top of a major party ticket, and the first woman of color. Directed by Hillary Bachelder and co-produced by Kartemquin Films, ITVS, and Backbone Films, Represent covers three women, their campaigns and what transpired in their lives a year after election day.
Myya Jones is a Black 22-year-old Michigan State graduate and lifelong native of Detroit who ran for mayor of the Motor City. After her defeat, she than ran for state representative at the age of 23. She found herself encountering opposition from all sides, as most people didn't take her credentials seriously, due to her young age and inexperience.
Numerous scenes in Represent depicting her journey are reminiscent of the films of Michael Moore, a Flint, Michigan native who often brings his work back home.
Bryn Bird is a white woman and progressive in the ultraconservative rural Ohio town of Granville. Running for township trustee she comes up against Granville's right-wing “old boys network” and all the challenges that comes along with trying to unseat the establishment. She wins, the only woman of the three who does, but it comes with a price.
The town trustee salary is tiny, and as she continues to work her farm, she sees business take a real hit. Her liberal views don't fit in an overwhelmingly conservative town and it shows by the number of suppliers and partners who take their business elsewhere.
Julie Cho is a Korean immigrant and conservative Republican running for state representative right here in Evanston. Up against a popular Democratic incumbent, Cho never really had a chance, but she finds major issues within her own party too. Cho is more of a John Kasich, Mitt Romney style "Republican classic" and that is a dying breed within today's GOP.
She also seeks to end gerrymandering, leading to the people she encounters wondering aloud "are you really a Republican?"
For information on Represent, click here. If you want to see the film in person at the Music Box, remember, due to reduced capacity and socially distanced seating in both Music Box theaters, the Theater 2 Screening Room will only seat 18 patrons.
Also, all ticket purchases must be made online and in advance.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TV, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Now and SB Nation.
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