Why ‘Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union’ Is More Relevant Now than When Barack Obama Was in Office?
HBO’s docuseries Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union began taking shape in 2014 and only came out after seven whole years.
However, with a majority of its focus on exploring the role race had in Barack Obama's presidency and legacy, the docuseries came at a time when it’s more relevant than ever before.
Peter Kunhardt, the director of Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union, recognizes this and has expressed his agreement when talking with American Film Institute.
The HBO docuseries weaves together interviews from multiple people to tell the story it set out to do.
Kunhardt noted that the interviews he would have gotten before the terrible racial incidents that happened in the U.S. would have been completely different from what he got afterward. Back then, race was avoided as much as possible in politics, and no one was willing to bring it to the forefront.
But now, with race being such a big issue that the U.S. is facing as a country, the matter can no longer be ignored, and the docuseries now holds even more weight than when Kunhardt initially set out to make.
The director revealed they planned on making race the focal point of the docuseries from the very beginning.
The decision to look at Obama’s life and career through the lens of race came at the very beginning. I should take you back, we started this project seven years ago when Obama was still president. And at that time, the issue of race was something that nobody in the administration wanted to talk about.
‘Obama: In Pursuit Of A More Perfect Union’
When Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union first began production, Kunhardt did so with Obama’s cooperation and had thought he would get to interview the 44th U.S. president down the line.
However, Obama had to deal with a hectic last two years during his presidency, and when he was done, he entered a producing relationship with Netflix.
Because of this, the docuseries lacks any direct interview with Obama himself and pulls from various other interviews he had given over the years.
However, 40 people close to Obama were interviewed for the project, and it’s all stitched together with Obama’s interviews with other people to tell the story.
It starts from Obama’s upbringing and early life, exploring the incidents and experiences that led Obama to run for president. The docuseries then focuses on his 2008 presidential campaign and his election.
The last part of Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union then provides a glimpse into his presidency, revisiting some of his greatest successes and failures.
Aside from exploring Obama’s presidency and legacy and race's role, the docuseries also serves as a biography.
The docuseries airs on HBO from August 3 to 5, with a new episode coming out each day. The run time for Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union is approximately six hours.