#BlackLivesMatter, a movement that seems to mentioned far too frequently for the unlawful killings of unarmed black males and sometimes females in the USA to be merely a coincidence.
In Freedom: Black Hands, White Flags, filmmakers Levi E. Aluede and Daniel Modeste bring to light in just 20 mins some of history’s most important race issues as well as one that plagues modern society, and presenter Leon Oteng excellently gets to grips with the controversial issues surrounding the ‘#BlackLivesMatter’ movement. Oteng conducts several pressing interviews with some prominent members of London’s African and Afro-Caribbean community, as well a renowned American history professor Rene Romano. News such as Alton Sterling’s murder at the hands of police no longer shocks her, a statement which immediately speaks volumes to the viewer about the sheer extent of these tragic crimes. The system is stubborn and still resisting the change needed to make a difference.
With many documentaries that take a stance on hugely controversial issues, the filmmakers’ bias soon becomes obvious. However, in lesser quality documentaries their bias indeed takes over and doesn’t allow for a well-rounded argument, decreasing the potential effect on the viewer. However, in Freedom, the approach that the filmmakers and Oteng himself take is merely to educate, using shocking facts such as approximately 258 men and women were tragically killed by police in 2015, not to forget the 133 already killed in 2016. As well as statistics, the filmmakers use harrowing real life footage of the Alton Sterling and Philando Castle killings to really reach out and make you understand that these things happen and there can be no hiding it, and to attempt to educate the viewer that this issue will continue to grow if nothing happens.
From a cinematic point of view, besides the excellent presenting and brilliantly put together facts; the editing in this documentary is fantastic. A montage of famous moments throughout history such as the Rosa Parks incident or Martin Luther King Jr., accompanied by Kendrick Lamar’s ‘The Blacker The Berry’, a perfectly fitting soundtrack for the subject matter.
What sends the deepest message, however; is the heart wrenching ending to the documentary. We are left with the names and pictures of a select few who were murdered by police in 2015. Although it is only a select few, this footage goes on for around 2 minutes, and if 10% of a 20-minute documentary can be taken up by a ‘select few’ victims; then this problem is just even more tragic…
You can watch the documentary below.
On the whole, this is a truly excellent documentary, one that shows it’s biased but keeps itself unbiased, providing facts and stats that shock the viewer and hard to watch footage of real police killings. The filmmakers should be proud of what they have achieved in such a short space of time and one can only hope that films like this help raise awareness and make a big step towards preventing tragedies like these from happening again.
Words by Elliott Jones