Thursday, June 29, 2023

Detroit Will Breathe (2021)

Kate Levy's DETROIT WILL BREATHE is a kick in the chest. It's a film you need to see because it is going to piss you off.

The film is the story of the peaceful demonstrations that occurred in Detroit in 2020 in the wake of  the death of George Floyd. Cut from police body camera footage, raw news footage and footage shot by protesters and witnesses, the footage is part of the evidence for a lawsuit, and it's a damning portrait of police out of control.

I have few words to express what this film made me feel.  As the film's coverage of the first day of protests ends we see a police spokesman talk about how the police acted bravely taking on the protesters, the problem is that we have just seen the police wading into and beating the shit out of the protesters.  The film then makes things worse for the cops by showing them joking about beating up the protesters before wading into the peaceful protesters and smacking them around.  At one point the cops decide to effectively steal a woman's car.  Having made a wrong turn she wanted to get out of where she was but one cop just wanted her keys and her car.

By the end of the film I was truly pissed off.  

What makes the film work is that Levy doesn't use typical  news footage or the footage of one POV, but she weaves the footage together  so that we get moments from various POV's that make us certain that what we are seeing is an accurate portrait of the events. In an age where everyone argues about fake news, Levy gives us no doubt, what we are seeing, is very real and very much the right way as we are supposed to see it.  

One of the most shocking things about the film is it clearly shows that the cops have no shame and don't understand how the body cam footage could get them into deep trouble. As we see in other areas people truly don't understand that being on camera is not the time to do something violent or stupid.

Currently playing film festivals  and and on the subscription service Means TV DETROIT WILL BREATHE is a film you need to see.

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