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Interesting but uneven and needed a better telling.
This is quite a slow, considered documentary on the rape of Recy Taylor using old race films, photographs, footage and evocative music to convey the times. It starts well enough, although at times it it completely overshadowed by the music (Dinah Washington' achingly haunting, This Bitter Earth) and the arty reconstructions distract. It's uneven and Recy Taylor's story is devastating enough without the documentary halfway veering into a discourse about black women's activism by some preachy white feminist scholar. Reframing the narrative through a modern perspective is more often that not, unfaithful to history. One of the most powerful images that I took away was Recy Taylor's father having to spend nights in a tree with a shotgun to guard his family after they'd gone public about the rape. It's a harrowing story but it isn't handled very well. I don't recall if they mentioned the similar gang rape of Betty Jean Owens. fifteen years later, and the different outcome, but they should have.
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