Alexandra Pelosi says that ever since one of her “home movies” became an HBO documentary in 2002, “everything I’ve done has been accidental.” Journeys with George, shot on then-governor Bush’s campaign bus when she was off duty as a TV producer, led to six more HBO films—most recently Citizen U.S.A.: A 50 State Road Trip, which debuts July 4. But when Pelosi considers her films in succession, she’s surprised to realize “they’re a continuing conversation with myself.”
Journeys with George led her to cover the Democrats in the next election, resulting in Diary of a Political Tourist, which led her to consider a different kind of political power in Friends of God, about evangelical Christians. When that film’s featured preacher became embroiled in a sex scandal, she made The Trials of Ted Haggard. Next, HBO sent her back on the campaign trail to film Right America: Feeling Wronged, after which she tried to escape religion and politics with Homeless, about kids living in motels outside Disneyland.
Citizen U.S.A. is a cheery rejoinder to the gloom of Homeless: Dozens of brand-new citizens tell Pelosi, daughter of former speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, why they love the U.S. Yet the interviews with these jubilant Americans manage to convey a subtext—the story told by a Mexican American subtly indicates that the country isn’t always welcoming. But the feel-good tone prevails, and some of the joy is personal: One of the film’s new Americans is Michiel Vos, Pelosi’s Dutch husband.
Want MORE? Check our interview with Last Night director Massy Tadjedin.
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