You’ve Been Trumped Too, Anthony Baxter’s heartfelt and fearless documentary, won’t fail to engage your attention and your heart.
“This is not simply another four-year election. This is a crossroad in the history of our civilization. This is a struggle for the survival of our nation, believe me. And this will be our last chance to save it.” Donald Trump‘s voice marks the beginning of “You’ve Been Trumped Too”, Award-winning filmmaker Anthony Baxter’s new documentary about a confrontation between Mr Trump and Molly Forbes – a 96-year-old Scottish widow who saw her water supply be cut off for years after Trump’s construction workers damaged the pipes, in 2012, while building a luxury golf resort near Aberdeen under the now-President’s instructions. In fact, Donald Trump himself tried and failed to prevent Baxter’s documentary from being released, by threatening to pursue legal action against any cinemas who’d show the film. Four years after its completion, You’ve Been Trumped Too will finally be released by Journeyman Pictures on 18th August on iTunes, Amazon, GooglePlay, Journeyman VOD and Vimeo.
You’ve Been Trumped Too has been completed in 2016, and follows Baxter’s previous documentary, You’ve Been Trumped (2011), which focused on the very same golf course that Trump was building, only from a different angle, as it looked at the damage to a land that was described as “one of Europe’s most environmentally sensitive stretches of coast”. Among other awards, You’ve Been Trumped won the Sheffield Green Award at the Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival in 2011, with the International Jury describing Trump’s golf course as “one of the most shocking environmental crimes in recent UK history”, and has been positively received upon its release.
You’ve Been Trumped Too follows Molly Forbes and her family in Menie, Aberdeen, alternating interviews with short fragments of clips recorded during the making of Baxter’s previous documentary, showing the events that led to both the construction of Trump’s billion-dollar golf course and the beginning of Molly’s struggles. In fact, it is during the filming of You’ve Been Trumped that Trump’s construction team accidentally broke a pipe bringing water to the Forbes’ property, an accident that followed the Forbes’ refusal to sell Trump their land.
In Baxter’s heartfelt film, we learn that, after the accident, the Forbes family remained without running water for over one week, forced to collect water from a nearby spring and use rain water to cook, bathe and clean. This prompted the filmmakers to visit Trump’s construction site’s office and enquire as to when the water pipe would be fixed, even speaking to one of the workers about the damaged pipe – an action that then led to Baxter’s arrest. Not only that, but, though Trump promised to repair Molly’s pipes – which, by Scottish law, he would have been obliged to do, he in fact never did.
At the time in which You’ve Been Trumped Too was filmed, Donald Trump was “just” a Republican business man running for office, and the documentary juxtaposes the future President’s loud campaign with the softly spoken words of Molly Forbes, a woman who Trump casually said reminds him of his mother – a comment the then 92-year-old Scottish widow acknowledged with a hearty laugh, observing that “he mustn’t have treated her very well, then”. In fact, the authenticity of Trump’s remark is soon put into question, when we learn that he also publicly insulted the Forbes, calling them “pigs living in a sty” and stating that “Mr Forbes is not a man that people in Scotland should be proud of”.
You’ve Been Trumped Too is designed to pull at your heart’s strings: as pictures of Molly show her lovingly tending to her dairy cattle during World War II, Trump’s sons are depicted hunting wild animals in Safaris and taking selfies with their carcasses. However, Baxter’s documentary also provides an impartial, well-documented account of the events that led Molly Forbes and her family to live in conditions that should not exist in the western world since WWII. Despite the evidence and the controversy, Baxter manages to keep his documentary as neutral as possible, including both parties in his feature but exercising the freedom of speech that inevitably made him an “enemy” of the Republican party, as he dared to show how poorly and outrageously the whole situation has been dealt with on Trump’s side.
Both You’ve Been Trumped and You’ve Been Trumped Too plainly show how Trump’s politics and bigger-than-America plans have affected Molly Forbes, her family and many more Aberdeen residents – people who are not environmentalists, but human beings who deeply care for their land. Some of them have been living in their homes for generations, and their lives have been profoundly disrupted by a rich estate mogul’s attempts to force them out of their houses after their refusal to sell their beloved land, whose only fault is being “too close to his billion-dollar luxury golf course”.
Baxter smartly asks himself and his audience whether or not Americans would “still vote for him if they knew how he changed the people in Scotland”, and the answer comes from one of Trump’s supporters during the 2016 campaign: “He should have fixed it. Immediately”, says a woman after having been shown pictures of Molly’s living conditions.”I am changing my vote”.
When listening to Molly speak about her daily struggles, living with no running water for years, I shed several tears. Looking at the desolated backdrop of Aberdeen’s ruined dunes bulldozed to create yet another golf resort for billionaires, my heart sank. It’s a matter of fact that, as a result of Trump’s construction works, Aberdeen’s distinctive sand dunes have now been ruined. Since they are part of protected habitat in Scotland, Trump initially convinced the Scottish government to let him embark on his endeavour by promising six-thousands job positions for the local residents. However, not only did just 95 Scots find employment, but Menie, in Aberdeen, has been forever spoiled by Trump’s International Golf Links.
When Menie’s citizens tried to prevent the construction of the golf course, Trump tried to push them out of their homes by asking the Council to use Compulsory Purchase Orders – processes that can allow public bodies to force homeowners to sell up if their property obstructs a regeneration project or it’s for the “greater public good”. Since the beginning of their battle, in 2011, their anger and frustration has only grown. To parade this sentiment, Mexican flags have been raised up, flying in defiance around Aberdeen to protest against Trump, as a banner and herald to their opinion about the President, his business and the wall he wants to build.
At some point, watching the documentary, I couldn’t help but think that the battle between Trump and the Forbes seemed to be of a personal nature. In fact, if felt like a personal battle between me and Trump, too: Molly Forbes has been insulted and treated as a hick-up in Trump’s construction plans instead of being regarded as a real person with a real life, struggles and feelings. I couldn’t help but feel for these people, and I sulked in my chair when Donald Trump Jr, pointing to an old rusty truck that is probably dated 1945, jokingly said to Mr Forbes: “if you can get that running again, I will give you the golf course”. At the end of the documentary, we learn that the Forbes did, in fact, fix the old truck by buying parts on eBay, just like they have overtaken the repairs of the water pipe by themselves, restoring running water to their property, five years after the damage had been made.
You’ve Been Trumped Too is an outstanding, brave documentary that stirs your heart and indignation and highlights the contrast between the aggressive side of political business and the quiet simple lives of modest people, inviting us to reflect on whether luxury and power for the elite is worth the discomfort and struggle of the many.
My heart is with Molly and her family for all they have struggled.
You’ve Been Trumped Too will be released by Journeyman Pictures on demand on iTunes, Amazon, GooglePlay, Journeyman VOD and Vimeo on 18th August.
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