See film here: https://anightatthegarden.com/
It has long been said that history has been written by the powerful. With that in mind, there are precious few more powerful than a white male American. The fact that that section of the population has been largely responsible for the writing of American history explains why an event which this short documentary directed by Marshall Curry uses as its subject has largely been wiped from American history. It is not something that makes them come off well. Something that most would like to forget.
The year is 1939 and 20,000 Americans piled into NYC’s Madison Square Garden in recognition of the rise of Nazism in the country. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. White power has always been tucked into a recess in the American fabric. It has never really disappeared and is rearing its ugly head presently. Shows that Nazism did not disgust a large part of the American population. The white supremacy message was appealing to many. Footage shows us the rally was filled with Nazi salutes and swastikas alongside images of the American flag and George Washington. Americanism being sold.
Makes you wonder if Japan had not attacked Pearl Harbor would the Americans even have joined the Allies in World War II? The fight against the Nazis. Or would they have remained isolated and only concerned about themselves?
This seven minute film is made up entirely of archival footage from this event. Really gives you an idea of how strong anti-Semitism was then. Happening mere months before World War II started and the Nazis began their extermination of the Jewish population across Europe, it is rather eerie.
Making its debut at last year’s Sundance Film Festival and also screening at the New York Film Festival, Curry’s film has made a mark. Many have sit up and taken notice of this shocking film. Shocking that it could happen in a large city like New York and one that has been built up on its immigrant population plus seen as a largely Liberal city.
A chilling watch. A timely watch considering what is going on across the globe and especially in the United States. A warning cry that something like this could happen again. You see how they set themselves up as true Americans. Cringe at the language and tactics. The urging to the audience members that they are under threat and must “take back” (or make America great again?) their country. That minorities are ruining the country. Is facism on the rise again in the U.S.? Is Trump a sign that it is? A leader who mocks the disabled and is not pro-immigration. Who has attacked the media. Thrown some questions on the validity of democracy. Being kind is just for the weak and that equality has gone too far.