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‘Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?’ Review: A Brave but Compromised Investigation into White Supremacy

‘Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?’ Review: A Brave but Compromised Investigation into White Supremacy
Upon first glance, the title of Travis Wilkerson’s “Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?” carries an air of mystery, as though the film will start with a body and then work its way through a vast conspiracy before identifying the killer. And — in a way — that’s exactly what it does. But not in that order. First we identify the killer: Se Branch, Wilkerson’s great-grandfather, a virulent racist who murdered a black man in 1946 and got away with it scot-free. Then we have the victim: Bill Spann, who had the misfortune of living in Alabama at a time when his life most certainly didn’t matter to the people in charge. Finally, we sift through the vast conspiracy that separated these two men, a vapid system of violence that left one of them alive with his family, and the other dead in an unmarked grave, as Bill
See full article at Indiewire »

Review: ‘Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?’ Frames American Racism as an Unholy Haunting

Throughout the remarkable Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? – director Travis Wilkerson’s attempt to learn more about and confront the murder of the African American Bill Spann by his white great-grandfather, S.E. Branch, through a cinematic essay on racism in America – there are many black-and-white images of houses, forests, and roads in Alabama, the state in which the killing took place. As interview subjects recount memories or details related to the crime — through either first-person testimony or Wilkerson’s second-hand paraphrasing — the film often eschews focusing on the speaker to dwell on local spaces, quietly moving through static shots of Alabaman milieus. These images are so still that, at first, they resemble photographs — specifically, old photographs of the sort that one might find in the photo album of someone who was alive when Bill Spann was killed. But if you look closely, you’ll see that the
See full article at The Film Stage »

Rushes. Kiarostami's Coda, The Zanzibar Group, Buster Keaton Candid Camera

  • MUBI
Get in touch to send in cinephile news and discoveries. For daily updates follow us @NotebookMUBI.Recommended VIEWINGJanus Films has released a moving trailer for the late master Abbas Kiarostami's final film, 24 Frames. We were touched by this entrancing film at this past year's Cannes Film Festival.Steven Soderbergh's post-"retirement" phase appears to continue with Unsane. Here's the first tantalizing trailer:Travis Wilkerson is one of the best kept secrets in American cinema, thus we're pleased to see that his latest Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? gets a trailer and distribution via Grasshopper Film:The kind people over at NoBudge have presented the online premieres of two inspired independent films: Kat Hunt's What's Revenge, a docu-fiction comedy about ex-boyfriends and gender relations, and Eric Marsh & Andrew Stasiulis' Orders, a contemplation of the American war machine from a haunted suburban setting.Recommended LISTENINGThe Directors Guild
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Official Trailer for 'Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?' Documentary

"An urgent, often corrosive look at America's past and present." Grasshopper Films recently released this official trailer for a highly acclaimed documentary titled Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?, made by filmmaker Travis Wilkerson examining his own family history. This premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, and also played at the New York Film Festival, with a limited release coming later this month. Set in Alabama, the film is about the filmmaker's great-grandfather, who murdered a black man in 1946 and got away with it. So he decides to look back at what happened, a personal reckoning with family, murder, and the corrosive racial tensions that have carried from past to present. This trailer doesn't reveal too much, but it does give you an idea of the look and feel of the film, which seems to have a unique highly-saturated tone. The trailer (+ poster) for Travis Wilkerson's doc Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?
See full article at FirstShowing.net »

15 Films to See in February

As Oscar hopefuls continue their awards campaigns through the voting period, our sights are mostly turned to what 2018 has to offer. February is another promising month, including the final film from a late master, a trio of ambitious sci-fi features, bold character studies, and more. There’s also the kick-off of Ingmar Bergman centennial retrospective, so make sure to seek it out if it’s coming to a town near you.

Matinees to See: Still/Born (2/2), Seeing Allred (2/9), Tehran Taboo (2/14), and Game Night (2/23)

15. Hannah (Andrea Pallaoro; Feb. 23)

Synopsis: Hannah is the intimate portrait of a woman’s loss of identity as she teeters between denial and reality.

Trailer

Why You Should See It: Getting a run on the fall festival circuit last year and now arriving in theaters, Daniel Schindel said in his review, “Hannah is Charlotte Rampling’s face. There are barely any other actors to speak of in this film,
See full article at The Film Stage »

A Horrifying History is Uncovered in Trailer for Sundance Doc ‘Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?’

Travis Wilkerson’s Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? was one of the must-sees on last year’s festival circuit, presented either as a straight-ahead documentary or through a “live cinema” environment wherein the writer-director presented his footage with an in-person voiceover. In whatever form it’s seen, many — from the Village Voice to the New York Times to Sight & Sound to Artforum to the New Yorker — spoke of it as a titanic experience, inciting chills for its exploration of personal history as a microcosm of national shame.

The theatrical version of Wilkerson’s project will be released next month by Grasshopper Film, and thus there is a trailer to mark the occasion. Overlaying the horrifying history with images of southern life and the ultimate image of decency, Atticus Finch, it gives some taste of the journey endured by its creator.

Watch below:

Formally audacious and emotionally powerful: a meditation on conscience and responsibility,
See full article at The Film Stage »

Grasshopper Acquires Sundance Doc ‘Did You Wonder Who Fired The Gun?’

Grasshopper Acquires Sundance Doc ‘Did You Wonder Who Fired The Gun?’
Grasshopper Film has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Did You Wonder Who Fired The Gun?, Travis Wilkerson’s documentary that played both the Sundance and New York film festivals The film will open theatrically on February 28, 2018 at Film Forum in New York City, followed by a national rollout. The film chronicles a 1946 murder in Alabama, committed by the filmmaker’s great-grandfather S.E. Branch, who killed Bill Spann, a black man. The murder has become hidden family…
See full article at Deadline Movie News »

15 Under-the-Radar Highlights at the 55th New York Film Festival

Considering the esteemed level of curation at the New York Film Festival, which begins this Thursday at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, a comprehensive preview could mostly consist of the schedule.

There’s the gala slots (Last Flag Flying, Wonderstruck, and Wonder Wheel), Main Slate selections (featuring Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird, The Square, Mudbound), two films from Film Twitter phenom Hong Sang-soo, and much more, as well as a 24-film Robert Mitchum retrospective and a delectable line-up of restorations.

So rather than single all of these out for our yearly preview, we’re looking at a handful of under-the-radar highlights from across the festival. Check them out below and return for our coverage.

Before We Vanish (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)

There are few directors who would choose to take a semi-sincere approach to a lengthy pseudo-philosophical science-fiction film — especially not one that lightly pries into our fundamental psychological
See full article at The Film Stage »

How New Movies Are Redefining Our Understanding of Family Life

  • Indiewire
How New Movies Are Redefining Our Understanding of Family Life
The following essay was produced as part of the 2017 Locarno Critics Academy, a workshop for aspiring film critics that took place during the 70th edition of the Locarno Film Festival.

Locarno isn’t just home to a major European film festival. It’s also an ideal place for many Swiss and foreign families to travel in summer and enjoy its hot weather, pleasant cuisine, and serene lake. This makes it a terrific place for contemplating new movies.

Ironically, during the 70th edition of the Locarno Film Festival, many of the films outwardly questioned the value of traditional family life. Many viewers encountered the puzzling contrast of watching subversive movies, leaving the screening rooms, and watching very conventional heterosexual families enjoying their vacations. But this only made the power of these movies stand out.

“C’est moi” says Fanny Ardant, a transgender women, in “Lola Pater,” the film by the Franco-Algerian director Nadir Mokneche,
See full article at Indiewire »

New York Film Festival: Alex Gibney, Vanessa Redgrave, and Abel Ferrara Join Documentary Spotlight Lineup

New York Film Festival: Alex Gibney, Vanessa Redgrave, and Abel Ferrara Join Documentary Spotlight Lineup
The 55th New York Film Festival will debut a starry roster of documentaries featuring giants of the art and literary worlds as well as Alex Gibney’s postponed “No Stone Unturned,” a critical investigation into the 1994 Loughinisland massacre in Ireland, which was pulled from Tribeca in April.

Other new works include films from directors Abel Ferrara, Sara Driver, Nancy Buirski, Mathieu Amalric, and Barbet Schroeder; Vanessa Redgrave’s directorial debut “Sea Sorrow,” which played at Cannes; and films featuring Joan Didion, Arthur Miller, Gay Talese, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Jane Goodall, plus stories about racism, American immigration, and the global refugee crisis.

Three documentaries spotlight acclaimed writers, including the world premiere of Griffin Dunne’s “Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold,” returning Nyff filmmaker Rebecca Miller’s tender portrait of her father, “Arthur Miller: Writer,” and the World Premiere of Myles Kane and Josh Koury’s “Voyeur,” tracking journalist Gay Talese
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

New York Film Festival: Alex Gibney, Vanessa Redgrave, and Abel Ferrara Join Documentary Spotlight Lineup

New York Film Festival: Alex Gibney, Vanessa Redgrave, and Abel Ferrara Join Documentary Spotlight Lineup
The 55th New York Film Festival will debut a starry roster of documentaries featuring giants of the art and literary worlds as well as Alex Gibney’s postponed “No Stone Unturned,” a critical investigation into the 1994 Loughinisland massacre in Ireland, which was pulled from Tribeca in April.

Other new works include films from directors Abel Ferrara, Sara Driver, Nancy Buirski, Mathieu Amalric, and Barbet Schroeder; Vanessa Redgrave’s directorial debut “Sea Sorrow,” which played at Cannes; and films featuring Joan Didion, Arthur Miller, Gay Talese, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Jane Goodall, plus stories about racism, American immigration, and the global refugee crisis.

Three documentaries spotlight acclaimed writers, including the world premiere of Griffin Dunne’s “Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold,” returning Nyff filmmaker Rebecca Miller’s tender portrait of her father, “Arthur Miller: Writer,” and the World Premiere of Myles Kane and Josh Koury’s “Voyeur,” tracking journalist
See full article at Indiewire »

Vanessa Redgrave, Alex Gibney, Griffin Dunne Documentaries Join New York Film Festival Slate (Exclusive)

Vanessa Redgrave, Alex Gibney, Griffin Dunne Documentaries Join New York Film Festival Slate (Exclusive)
The 2017 New York Film Festival’s Spotlight on Documentary lineup includes work by a number of notable directors, with world premieres by Vanessa Redgrave (“Sea Sorrow”), Alex Gibney (“No Stone Unturned”), and Griffin Dunne (“Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold”), among others.

The documentaries on tap encompass a wide range of subjects, including the global refugee crisis (“Sea Sorrow”), male bodybuilding (Denis Côté’s “A Skin So Soft”), small-town racism and misogyny (Travis Wilkerson’s “Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?”), Rome’s biggest public square (Abel Ferrara’s “Piazza Vittorio”), and a 1994 Irish massacre (“No Stone Unturned”).

Related

New York Film Festival 2017 Slate Dominated by Amazon, Netflix (Full List)

There are also a number of works focused on individuals, including Rebecca Miller’s movie about her playwright father, “Arthur Miller: Writer,” as well as docs about the writer Joan Didion (“The Center Will Not Hold”), artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (Sara Driver’s “Boom for
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Locarno Film Review: ‘Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?’

Locarno Film Review: ‘Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?’
The problems with Travis Wilkerson’s well-intentioned yet maddeningly self-focused documentary begin with the title, “Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?” No actually, we never wonder who fired the gun, and neither does he: on the immediate level, it was his white supremacist great-grandfather S.E. Branch, who killed Bill Spann, an unarmed African-American man in 1946 Alabama. On a more general level, the “who” can be expanded to an entire country that’s become pathological in the way it continues to sweep under the carpet an ongoing history of unindicted white-against-black murders. Wilkerson doesn’t mean to suggest ambiguity with his title, since no one questions the identity of the culprit, but it is regrettably indicative of his naval-gazing focus on family skeletons, combined with a deeply annoying tendency to sensationalize the obvious.

Designed as a piece of agitprop, “Did You Wonder” is, for all intents and purposes, a cold case murder mystery, cooked
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Locarno 2017. Lineup

Ben & Joshua Safdie's Good TimeThe lineup for the 2017 festival has been revealed, including new films by Wang Bing, Radu Jude, Raúl Ruiz and others, alongside retrospectives and tributes dedicated to Jean-Marie Straub, Jacques Tourneur and much more.Piazza GRANDEAmori che non sonno stare al mondo (Francesca Comencini, Italy)Atomic Blonde (David Leitch, USA)Chien (Samuel Benchetrit, France/Belgium)Demain et tous les autres jours (Noémie Lvovsky, France)Drei Zinnen (Jan Zabeil, Germany/Italy)Good Time (Ben & Joshua Safdie, USA)Gotthard - One Life, One Soul (Kevin Merz, Switzerland)I Walked with a Zombie (Jacques Tourneur, USA)Iceman (Felix Randau, Germany/Italy/Austria)Laissez bronzer les cadavres (Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani, Belgium/France)Lola Pater (Nadir Moknèche, France/Belgium)Sicilia! (Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet, Italy/France/Germany)Sparring (Samuel Jouy, France)The Big Sick (Michael Showalter, USA)The Song of Scorpions (Anup Singh, Switzerland/France/Singapore)What Happed to Monday (Tommy Wirkola,
See full article at MUBI »

Locarno Festival 2017 line-up revealed

  • ScreenDaily
Locarno Festival 2017 line-up revealed
Atomic Blonde, The Big Sick, The Song Of Scorpions among line-up.

The line-up for the 70th Locarno Festival (Aug 2-12) in Switzerland has been announced.

Scroll down for the full line-up

The 16-strong Piazza Grande strand features 11 world premieres, including opening night film Tomorrow And Every Other Day directed by Noemie Lvovsky and starring Mathieu Amalric, and closing night music doc Gotthard - One Life, One Soul, about the swiss rock band.

Other Piazza Grande films include Atomic Blonde with Charlize Theron, Good Time starring Robert Pattinson, Kumail Nanjiani’s The Big Sick, What Happened to Monday? with Glenn Close and the world premiere of Anup Singh’s The Song of Scorpions, starring Irrfan Khan, who will attend the festival.

Actor and director Mathieu Kassovitz will receive the festival’s 2017 excellence award and Nastassja Kinski will be honoured with a lifetime achievement award.

Michel Merkt (Toni Erdmann, Elle) will receive the festival’s best independent producer award.

As
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Locarno: Isabelle Huppert as ‘Madame Hyde,’ Fanny Ardant as a Transgender Woman

Locarno: Isabelle Huppert as ‘Madame Hyde,’ Fanny Ardant as a Transgender Woman
Rome – The Locarno Film Festival has unveiled a rich mix of titles spanning many genres for its 70th edition, marked by a strong French presence that will include Isabelle Huppert playing a physics teacher who undergoes a major personality shift in “Madame Hyde” and Fanny Ardant playing a man who has had gender-reassignment surgery in “Lola Pater” (pictured).

Focus Features’ spy pic “Atomic Blonde” with Charlize Theron and Netflix’s sci-fi thriller “What Happened to Monday?” will also screen in Locarno’s open-air, 8,000-seat Piazza Grande, though without talent in tow.

As in past editions, the lineup of the Swiss fest dedicated to indie cinema combines potential discoveries with new works by known festival auteurs such as Noemie Lvovsky, Anup Singh, F.J. Ossang, Wang Bing, Annemarie Jacir, and a posthumous pic by Raul Ruiz. The official competition comprises 14 world premieres, four of which are films by first-time directors.

Lvovsky’s “Tomorrow and Thereafter,” a
See full article at Variety - Film News »

E uno plura: Close-Up on James N. Kienitz Wilkins' "The Republic"

Mubi is presenting the world premiere of James N. Kientiz Wilkins' The Republic from July 4 - August 3, 2017.The cinema of James N. Kienitz Wilkins occupies an unusual space in the contemporary art scene. Most of his films are the result of some sort of conceptual procedure, a decision either to treat his original footage according to some abstract system or to apply his own logic to found material. And yet, there is a plainspoken quality to Kienitz Wilkins’ work that smooths out any potential “art damage” or intimidation factor. Kienitz Wilkins has successfully adapted some of the most critical weapons in the arsenal of experimental cinema to produce a stark poetry of the everyday.Kienitz Wilkins’ newest “film,” The Republic, is quite possibly his most radical effort to date. For starters, you will notice that I put the word “film” in quotation marks, since it is no easy matter to
See full article at MUBI »

Three Days in May: San Francisco's Crossroads Festival 2017

Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?May is an interesting time for a film festival. In a sense, the calendar year for cinema is starting over in May, since that’s when two major international festivals occur—Cannes and Oberhausen. Where Cannes showcases the latest work from global arthouse auteurs—your Almodóvars and von Triers and Hanekes and the like—Oberhausen specifically focuses on short films, some of them by the world’s most prominent avant-garde filmmakers. A significant portion of what screens at both Cannes and Oberhausen will set the agenda for other film festivals in the coming year, in terms of which films and filmmakers ought to be shown.San Francisco’s Crossroads happens during May as well, and this puts it in a unique position with respect to other, larger festivals. Artistic director Steve Polta is able to assemble an experimental film festival comprised of older,
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Worth a Damn: Quantifying Value and Perspective at the True/False Film Fest

  • MUBI
This year’s True/False Film Fest will hopefully be remembered as Claire Simon’s coming out party. The master French director received a rare three-film retrospective at the Columbia, Missouri festival that collectively highlighted her endless curiosity for life’s spectrum of emotions and anxieties. Within the tight confines of a playground or classroom her inquisitive camera never stops searching for something new, all the while quietly dissecting hierarchies of power and judgment. Comparisons to the great Frederick Wiseman are natural, but Simon’s films always leave room for bits of humor that help transcend the coldness of institutional mechanisms.During a post-screening Q&A for The Graduation, Simon’s latest documentary that examines the intense admittance process for France’s prestigious film school La Fémis, the director described each student’s struggle as “a really big fight to be in the castle.” Dreams of prestige and success validate
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Sundance 2017. Top Picks & Coverage Roundup

  • MUBI
A Ghost StoryBelow you will find our favorite films of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, as well as an index of our coverage.Awardstop Picksjosh Cabritai.Call Me By Your NameII.A Ghost StoryIII.Beatriz at Dinner, Dayveon, DinaGolden ExitsKuro, Person to PersonLAWRENCE N Garciai.Call Me By Your NameII.Golden Exits, My Happy FamilyIII.Beatriz at Dinner, Dina, The Big SickLandline, Long Strange TripCORRESPONDENCESBy Josh Cabrita and Lawrence N Garcia#1 Josh Cabrita on William Oldroyd's Lady Macbeth, Dustin Guy Defa's Person to Person | Read#2 Lawrence N Garcia on Travis Wilkerson's Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?, Gillian Robespierre's Landline, Damien Power's Killing Ground, Taylor Sheridan's Wind River | Read#3 Josh Cabrita on Bryan Fogel's Icarus, Dee Rees' Mudbound, David Lowery's A Ghost Story | Read#4 Lawrence N Garcia on Luca Guadagnino's Call Me By Your Name, Matthew Heineman's City of Ghosts,
See full article at MUBI »
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