One October

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday Night Special

In October 2008—during the last days of Barack Obama’s first bid for the presidency and the country’s worst economic disaster since the Great Depression—WFMU radio reporter Clay Pigeon takes to the streets of New York to talk to people about their lives, their dreams, and their relationship with a transforming city.

As part of what he calls a “radio experiment,” this transplanted Iowan roams the streets bearing a handheld recorder and a kindly probing nature: “Has he popped the question?” “When did you become a woman?” “When is the last time you’ve had a regular roof over your head?” “Do you love America?” These revealing interviews are woven between vivid scenes of New York’s eccentric byways, which together reveal a city—and a nation—at a crossroads.

On screen the city unfolds as a densely choreographed stage for rituals marking the onset of autumn. City dwellers bask in the last days of sunshine, jack-o-lanterns begin to decorate the stoops, observant Jews toss breadcrumbs into the Hudson River on Rosh Hashanah, and Muslims mark the end of their Ramadan fast with Eid al-Fitr prayers and expressions of forgiveness.

Yet in this historic moment, major investment banks have failed and the Dow has tumbled. In nearly all neighborhoods the real estate explosion beckons the wealthy and displaces longtime residents with fewer means. And while Obama’s message of “Hope” seems to be everywhere, even optimistic voters wonder if anyone can truly change America’s course.

Lyrical, loving, and often humorous, One October is a city symphony that celebrates the resiliency of the human spirit and the dynamism of a multicultural metropolis. Seen from our current vantage point, the film is also a remarkable time capsule that presages the roiling political upheaval spreading across the country today.


Screening in the Stranger Than Fiction Spring 2017 Season.
Season passes available here.

  • Year 2017
  • Running Time 57 minutes
  • Director Rachel Shuman

IFC Center does not generally provide advisories about subject matter or potentially triggering content in films, as sensitivities vary from person to person. In addition to the synopses, trailers and other links on our website, further information about content and age-appropriateness for specific films can be found on Common Sense Media, IMDb and as well as through general internet searches.