Whose Streets, A-
Rated R, 103 minutes
The powerful, mesmerizing new documentary "Whose Streets" may be one of the most important films you'll see this year. The documentary focuses on the aftermath of the tragic death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 and the global movement for change it sparked. Provocative and thought-provoking, it'll certainly prompt discussion of the myriad of issues it explores.
An account of the Ferguson uprising as told by the people who lived it. The filmmakers look at how the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown inspired a community to fight back and sparked a global movement.
"Whose Streets" follows several different people and their roles in the movement following Brown's death in 2014; Brittany Farell, a nurse and young mother (and pictured above); Tory Russell, who co-founded the organization Hands Up United; and there's David Whitt, who works a volunteer for the civilian organization Cop Watch, and rapper Tef Poe, who uses social media to galvanize the masses. Police brutality, race, injustice and economic inequality are among the issues the film explores, as it unfolds in the days, weeks and months following Brown's death.
"Whose Streets" can be both infuriating and inspiring but you won't look away; infuriating to see the racism and and the injustice, while inspiring how a community pulled together quickly to combat the problems, while dealing with personal and professional problems of their own. Told over 5 sections, the film is co-directed by Sabaah Foloyan and Damon Davis, and is photographed in quick, gritty style by Lucas Alvarado Farrar.
The film's first-hand account gives a much-different look than the distanced feel of the mainstream news networks, because it gives a very personal look at those affected by the tragedy, and their challenge to promote change and a better place. It provides a realistic, and much darker look, at the lives of African-Americans in middle America, which is the same as many of the rest of us, except for one huge thing: racism that still exists.
You may not agree with many of the disruptive tactics of the protestors, but it's surely thought-provoking and compelling enough to start some changes in small ways, and while there's still a long ways to go, that's a small victory for "Whose Streets." One of the year's best films and documentaries.