This excellent documentary shows something like the birth of Obama-era politics. In fact, if a viewer is unaware of the year the documentary was shot, 2007 (near the twilight of Bush's presidency), he/she will easily think it was made mere minutes ago. The documentary is set in Manassas, Virginia, and concerns a group of white people who have lost everything that was once their minds. What has unhinged them so completely is a growing population of Mexican immigrants. The white people just can't mentally handle the linguistic and racial transformation of their once-sleepy community; they can't cope with the very thought of Mexicans living right in their neighborhood; they go completely bonkers at the sight of Mexicans working, driving cars, opening restaurants, and hanging out on their lawns.

The racial hysteria is expressed on blogs and also in an immigration policy that requires police officers to check all brown-looking people for proof of American citizenship. In the Obama period, the crazy white people will become the Tea Party, and the unconstitutional law they so desperately want to enforce will become Arizona's law.

But what this documentary exposes is that the white meltdown in Manassas is not about jobs or even public safety, but is a full-blown existential crisis. Hegel, the greatest German philosopher of the romantic period, once wrote this about the human fear of death: "For this consciousness was not in danger and fear for this element or that, nor for this or that moment of time, it was afraid for its entire being; it felt the fear of death, the absolute master. In that experience, it has been melted to its inmost soul, has trembled throughout its every fiber, and all that was solid and stable has been shaken to its foundations." Many of the white folks in this documentary are seen experiencing a melting to their "inmost soul." But this melting is caused by skin color and not by the absolute master, death. Northwest Film Forum, Fri–Sun 7, 9 pm.