HOT DOCS FILM FESTIVAL 2021 REVIEW! It’s really hard to give a description of All Light, Everywhere that fits its character, beauty, and originality. It also doesn’t help that the documentary isn’t particularly about one thing. It has layers upon layers, and that’s part of the reason why it’s so amazing. It makes it really hard to review, however, because I’m afraid the words I write will in no way measure up to the genius possessed by director Theo Anthony. He made this multi-tiered film about what we see, how we see, and how often our eyes (and other things that see) deceive us.
All Light, Everywhere takes place in a few different locations across the country, but let’s start in Scottsdale, Arizona. This is where the headquarters of Axon (formerly known as Taser) is located. Axon is the company that invented the taser as well as the police body camera. A higher-up at the company gives us a tour of the whole facility that is broken up into segments throughout the film.
“….multi-tiered film about what we see, how we see, and how often our eyes deceive us.”
Then we’re taken to a Baltimore Police Department conference room where a group of officers is attending a seminar about the new Axon body cameras they’re about to receive. Another location is a Baltimore community board meeting where Ross McNutt, the founder of Persistent Surveillance Systems, is trying to sell his aerial surveillance system to the city to help deter crime. He has an airplane that has a “Google Earth” like camera, except it records live.
What director Anthony does with all this information and so much more is show us the natural biases that occur through sight. As well as through the different inventions we have created throughout time to aid our sight. Such as cameras and inventions that predated them and came after. There is a literal blind spot in everyone’s eye that we are told about, and the rest of the film talks about the cultural and other blind spots in American society.
"…encompasses all things having to do with sight and how it can be manipulated."