Fjords Reviews

HOME | ART REVIEWS | Reclaiming Their Time
Reclaiming Their Time
Whose Streets?

A Film Review by: Jennifer Parker

August 10, 2017
Share Button

 

Whose Streets? There is something exhilarating, even mind-blowing, about the deeply uncomfortable exploration that Co-Directors Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis bring to Whose Streets?. The filmmakers wanted to give the Ferguson, Missouri community a narrative that accurately depicts their experience of the aftermath of the extrajudicial killing of Michael Brown, which many saw as the latest but most grotesque illustration of the relationship between a society, local government and its Black residents. Like the rest of the world, the residents of Ferguson saw a version of their world enacted in the mainstream media. Unlike the rest of the world, they found it unrecognizable.

The film takes its title from the peaceful yet impassioned protests organized by citizen activists. The question “whose streets?” tidily summarizes what the citizens of Ferguson tried to make clear to the world—their situation had become untenable when law enforcement could shoot an unarmed teenager—with his hands in the air. They didn’t deserve to live in a militarized zone due to the senseless killing of a young man and they shouted it out for the world to hear.

Balanced between talking-head interviews and well–sourced social media material, the filmmakers draw a through—line from the day of Michael Brown’s death to the continued efforts of the citizens of Ferguson to reclaim their narrative. Social media—particularly Twitter, enabled the filmmakers to capture the essence of real time.

Whose Streets? - Tweet

Brown’s death literally caused an entire community to throw their hands up in the air and start marching. Symbolically it was in solidarity with their slain neighbor who died with his hands in the air but it’s also impossible to pose a threat when one’s hands are above their heads. In came the riot police, the rubber bullets and the tear gas because words were the weapon of choice among Black people. Rioting and looting happened but only after the riot police showed up.

There is a gritty edge to this film largely due to the reliance on cellphone video and other social media by the filmmakers, but Folayan and Davis, who are new, yet skilled directors bring structure and form to the documentary with masterful editing techniques and sound. Peppered throughout the film are well placed Tweets that grounds the viewer in the moment.

Whose Streets? - Tweet

The chilling passage from the Supreme Court Dred Scott decision, refusing to acknowledge the humanity of Black people and the poignant reminder of American’s civic duty to fight tyranny demanded in The Declaration of Independence, bookend each of the five parts of the film. Stylistically, it is difficult to compare Whose Streets? to other documentaries. Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro, the 2017 film that largely uses archival footage to imagine the completion of James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript, Remember this House is more polished.

Activist Brittany Ferrell in WHOSE STREETS? and A scene from WHOSE STREETS?, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Whose Streets? shows there is nothing shiny about what is tantamount to a modern–day lynching by those who we entrust to protect and to serve.

Whose Streets? (2017)
R 90 min - Documentary
opens Friday, August 11, 2017

Archives

Santoalla-- the Spaces Between

Reading Arthur Miller in Tehran, The Salesman

Killing the ISIS Propaganda Machine, City of Ghosts

Bewitched, Bothered and Beguiled, The Beguiled– A Film Review

A Spoonful of Sugar-- Not Saccharine The Big Sick: A Film Review

Fiona and the Tramp, Lost in Paris- a review

Movie Review: Beatriz at Dinner

Not Made in America - Three films that get it right: The Wedding Plan, One Week and a Day, and The Commune

Teddy Thompson’s Ultimate Funeral Mix Tape

Cattelan the Perspectivist

Jason McLean

Moray Hillary, Pre-New Reflective by Heather Zises

Cameraperson, dir. Kristen Johnson: stories from behind the camera lens

SELFISH, Review by Heather Zises

Winter Realm Series by Noah Becker

Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom, dir. Evgeniy Afineevsky

Paul Rousso at Lanoue Fine Art

Strange Days directed by Kathryn Bigelow (1995)

Airan Kang, The Luminous Poem at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

Damien Hoar De Galvan at Carroll and Sons

Antigone, 2015, directed by Ivo van Hove

World of Tomorrow and the Quit-Bang Language of the Future

Karen Jerzyk's unsettling Parallel World

Quintet, Directed by Robert Altman, 1979

Classic Movie Short Review: Croupier (1998)

CEK - Concrete Functional Sculptures

Popeye, Directed by Robert Altman, 1980

Alexis Dahan, ALARM! At Two Rams

Do Ho Suh, Drawings, at Lehmann Maupin

Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

Nir Hod, Once Everything Was Much Better Even the Future

Reuven Israel, Multipolarity

Review of Boyhood

Exhibition Review: Mario Schifano 1960 – 67

Subverting the Realist Impulse in the Work of Shauna Born

Linder: Femme/Objet by Erik Martiny

What We Do in the Shadows by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi

Kara Walker, A Subtlety

Justin Kimball at Carroll and Sons

Kay Rosen: Blingo

Told & Foretold: The Cup in the Art of Samuel Bak, at Pucker Gallery

Collective Memory Manipulated: Sara Cwynar’s Flat Death

Letinsky’s Creases Turn Sour

Universal Archive

Art Paris Art Fair 2013 Review

Paris Street Art Musée de la Poste

Trellises by Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann

Accumulation: Sculptural work by Alben at Gallery Nines

The Colour of Laughter

Topography of Destruction Kemper Museum

L'art en Guerre : France 1938-1947

The Louvre Relocates to Africa

Hopper the Frenchie

A French Priest, Tears and Fire the Art of Jean-Michel Othoniel

North Korean Defector's U.S. Art Premiere