J. Rozenfeld


This work connects two explanations of the notion of millennial dream: one based on Paul Smith’s thoughts in Millennial Dreams – Contemporary Culture and Capital in the North from 1997 which are placed in juxtaposition with the views of Gregg Hemmings offered in his documentary film The Millennial Dream from 2016. The argument states that American self-definition has undergone a notable change at the contemporary level of globalization and the notion of local has gained on importance and transformed into a political catchword. Politicizing of culture has long been reflected in the documentary film genre and the present analysis aims at demonstrating how political indoctrination reshapes documentary films. Global challenges before and after the turn of the century placed the USA in a novel position in which the pressure of strengthening global compe-tition in a seemingly unilateral world has mixed with conflicting ideologies which have been competing for the right to (re-)define postmillennial Americanness.
A second objective is to demonstrate that cultural discourse has shifted towards a more left-wing-type interpretation of American identity as laissez-faire capitalism have been struggling with providing comparable life-chances for the Y and Z generations of Ameri-cans with the consequence that these cohorts have serious problems in maintaining life standards comparable with the standard of living of their parents and grandparents. The argument states that the transformation of the American dream into a Millennial dream is one effort to maintain continuity of American cultural evolution. Recent political conflict, the result of which is a greatly divided America writhing between antithetical interpreta-tions of reality, is just one symptom of redefining Americanness for and by the millenni-als.


American dream; millennial dream; documentary film; leftism; globalization; local

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