The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
Did You Wonder Who Fired The Gun?
2017, Travis Wilkerson, USA, 90 min.
"Incendiary…one of the most powerful reckonings in recent American cinema." - Jordan Cronk, Sight and Sound
"Intense, mesmerizing, and heartbreaking…It's hard not to experience DID YOU WONDER WHO FIRED THE GUN? and not get shivers up your spine - from fear, from anger, and from the beauty of Wilkerson's filmmaking." - Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice
Poised between experiment and agit-prop, the documentaries of Travis Wilkerson (AN INJURY TO ONE) channel the grand tradition of American radicalism. A sensation at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, DID YOU WONDER WHO FIRED THE GUN? fuses Southern Gothic, fiery sermon, and film-noir detective story into a spellbinding personal/political testament. After participating in protests against the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer, the filmmaker is driven to exhume a skeleton in his own family closet: the 1946 shooting of an African American man in Dothan, Alabama, by Wilkerson's great-grandfather, who was let off on a flimsy self-defense plea. Wilkerson sets out to investigate a case still veiled in in fear and secrecy, driving down racism-haunted Alabama roads as he follows a twisted trail that takes in a white supremacist aunt, Civil War reenactments, an unmarked grave, a rape investigation by pre-boycott Rosa Parks, the 1963 murder of white civil rights activist William Moore, and the mythic image of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD's Atticus Finch. But, as Wilkerson warns us, "This isn't another white savior story. This is a white nightmare story." DCP digital. (MR)
2016, Roland Vranik, Hungary, 109 min. With Cake-Baly Marcelo, Ágnes Máhr.
A culturally biased citizenship exam promises to be the undoing of middle-aged African immigrant Wilson (first-time actor Cake-Baly, who brings breathtaking grace and nuance to the role). Wilson fled the civil war that killed his family and now works as a security guard in a Budapest supermarket, striving to become a full-fledged citizen of his new country. This touching humanist drama exposes the unwelcoming climate that greets many immigrants to Europe, as Wilson finds a sympathetic teacher and prospective lover in lonely abused wife Mari (Máhr). Coping with the daily needling of exclusion and racism, he makes the dangerous misstep of giving shelter to an illegal immigrant, a young pregnant Iranian. In Hungarian with English subtitles. Courtesy of ArtMattan Productions. DCP digital widescreen. (BS)