As we work to understand the current climate of post-truths and “alternative facts”, we might all do well to think again about particular historical moments. Consider, for instance, the ways that the O.J. Simpson story reveals who experiences, beliefs, and politics shape realities, shared and oppositional. Questions of credibility and evidence shape this epic, no matter which of its many sides you might believe. This is exactly the trouble—for this case and the nation that produced it—according to Ezra Edelman’s magnificent documentary O.J.: Made in America, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, and now showing at the Doc Yard, with Edelman appearing in person on Monday, January 30. Juxtaposing images and interviews, revelations and old news, the film makes clear repeatedly that people base their beliefs on what they see, but what they see is inevitably framed by experiences and expectations.
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