Friday, March 10, 2023

Kris Dorval's THE MVMT (2021)

 Kris Dorval's THE MVMT is a hell of a film. The film is a verité portrait of Black Lives Matter protests that were held in various communities across Long Island.  The exact opposite of sensational news footage, Kris' film reveals shades and colors to the proceedings that anyone seeing either these protests or similar ones via mainstream media never saw.

Filmed over an extended period of time Kris was embedded with the group of protesters. Instead of standing out from them he was down among them shooting events on his camera. Because he was one of the group the people appearing before his lens were people, they never played to the camera. He observed and simply let things play out. More importantly he let people speak. The result is a film that genuinely alters how you see the world at large because it gives us a real look at the world and the events that are shaping our now. The film is the cinematic difference between watching a film about some place like Paris and actually going there to see it. THE MVMT is like going to Paris.

I am in awe of THE MVMT. This is Kris's first film, but it doesn't seem like that. There is a steady and assured hand behind it all. The film plays out like the work of the best observational filmmakers. I'm talking of the ones who drop us into a situation and let us observe for a while with the result we get better understanding than we would have had the film been "directed" into the director's view. Kris lets it all go and while the film can be a bit uneven, the film never ceases to be compelling. 

This is an important film that needs to be seen. I'm not sure why the film isn't better known. I suspect that the awkward run time of 37 minutes may have made some festival programmers gun shy. On the other hand, it's a good film so it shouldn't have mattered. (They should have scheduled a screening with a Q&A attached with Kris in attendance. Having sat and talk to Kris a couple of times he has a lot of good things to say)

Honestly take the time and see the film. If you are a programmer, consider scheduling it.  Right now, the film is available on You Tube. (You can see it here). Not only is this an important film on an important subject, but it's a very good one as well.  Ultimately films like this are the reason Unseen Films exists, to try and get word out about films you should see and filmmakers you should know about.  THE MVMT is a film to see, and Kris Dorval is a filmmaker you will want to keep an eye out for.

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