Last night I watched the film Deputized for the 7th time. It was on WLIW Channel 21 and even though I have probably seen the film more times than all but the people who made it, I decided to take time out from watching the Jets game to turn on the film to watch the story of the killing of Marcelo Lucero be retold. The experience of watching at home was surprisingly different from seeing the documentary in a movie theater or in my classroom.
The film was aired in between a report on education and the PBS Newshour. When Deputized came on after the usual PBS sponsor announcements, the effect was jarring. The film begins with a montage of TV news reports on arrests for hate crimes against immigrants. The immediate immersion in violence, without the usual art house movie speech along the lines of “what you are about to see is disturbing,” jolted me.
The other thing that was different about watching the film this time was the sense that while I was alone in my bedroom seeing it, it was simultaneously being seen by tens of thousands of other people on Long Island, in New York City, and up the Hudson Valley. More people saw the film last night than have seen it since it was made.
I hope this film had the same effect on those watching it on TV as it has had in theaters. It is an admonition to parents to warn their children about becoming involved in bias crimes as a form of entertainment, and it an admonition to voters to reject politicians who trade on hatred to win elections.