By Alan Scherstuhl
This moment, too, will pass and become history, just as the moment before it already has. Rachel Shuman's 55-minute city-study One October etches the New York of the fall of 2008 into a permanent record, revealing a time that felt like the culmination of all history as just another moment — and showcasing the city of 10 years ago as already lost to us. Shuman's sprightly, restless film trails the sprightly, restless WFMU host Clay Pigeon through the boroughs as he checks in with the people he meets. Wielding a microphone and accompanied by a small film crew, Pigeon opens his interviews warmly, with questions like, "How long have you lived here?" and "Do you love the city?" Then he gets specific.

Pigeon invites Harlemites to weigh in on gentrification ("You can't even go to Brooklyn, 'cause they doing the same thing!"), a Wall Street bro to explain how art school led to finance and a longtime mixed-race couple, both ex-cab drivers, he meets in Washington Square Park to weigh in on the upcoming election. A man named David who once managed Lightnin' Hopkins sees the truth of the Barack Obama years before their start: "In American politics, change is never complete," he says. "It's never thorough. It's never enough. Even Obama's not going to give us enough."

The election, the 2008 financial crash, the sense that the city is becoming less habitable for the non-wealthy: This is One October's bracing context.


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