The Hottest August

USA / 2019 / 94 minutes / NR

A complex portrait of a city and its inhabitants, The Hottest August gives us a window into the collective consciousness of the present. The film’s point of departure is one city over one month: New York City, including its outer boroughs, during August 2017. It’s a month heavy with the tension of a new President, growing anxiety over everything from rising rents to marching white nationalists, and unrelenting news of either wildfires or hurricanes on every coast. The film pivots on the question of futurity: what does the future look like from where we are standing? And what if we are not all standing in the same place? The Hottest August offers a mirror onto a society on the verge of catastrophe, registering the anxieties, distractions, and survival strategies that preoccupy ordinary lives.


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  • Director

    Brett Story

  • Producer

    Danielle Varga
    Brett Story

  • “A documentary about climate change like you’ve never seen before.”

    — Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
  • “Monumental. Why people are worried—and how they’re learning to cope—is what powers this remarkable documentary."

    — Tim Grierson, Paste Magazine
  • “Brett Story’s stunning follow up to her unconventional look at mass incarceration The Prison in Twelve Landscapes. A mesmerizing, meditative work of art.”

    — Peter Debruge, Variety
  • "An absorbing social study about hopes, dreams and our current climate."

    — Sophie Brown, Sight & Sound
  • “A climate change film that’s neither doom-inflected (First Reformed) or polemical (many, many documentaries), instead alternating between freefloating curiosity and unavoidably recurring melancholy."

    — Vadim Rizov, Filmmaker Magazine
  • “Story expands her canvas to encapsulate New York — as a microcosm for humanity itself — from virtually every angle with audacious cinematic energy.”

    — Eric Kohn, Indiewire
  • "The Hottest August is a rare climate crisis film that focuses on lived experiences rather than bolstering a dire prognosis with quantitative data."

    — Chelsea Phillips-Carr, Cleo Journal
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