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Selma - Film Review

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by John Andrew (subscribe)
I enjoy "fine dining", presenting programs on radios 4MBS, MBS Light and 4RPH and going to drama and music at Brisbane theatres.
Published February 15th 2015
This is how it was

Films like "The Help", "Missisippi Burning" and "The Debate" chronicle the struggle for Civil Rights, but tend to focus on the contributions of white visionaries.

Selma is seen much more from an African-American perspective.

It captures some of the key confrontations that led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It may underplay the commitment of Lyndon B Johnston, but its strength is in its depiction of Martin Luther King and the world in which he lived, and in the way it showed a flawed but driven leader dealing with the tensions in his own movement and struggling to find the best way forward to non-violently confront palpable injustice.

Fifty years on, Martin Luther King gets a film treatment he deserves.

He is not presented as a plaster saint, but, as Jason Best writes "…if the film's King has feet of clay, he remains a giant." And Oyewolo brilliantly conveys his incandescent GIFTS as well as his frailties, his shrewd tactical intelligence, blazing moral conviction and spellbinding rhetorical power.

The words are not exactly his – apparently the film did not secure the rights to King's speeches, but they capture his cadences, his passion and his capacity to engage an audience.

The scene at the Edmund Pettus bridge at Selma is unforgettable, as non-violent African-Americans are bludgeoned with barbed wire clubs and gassed, in front of the television cameras of the world.

Most dramatic of all, to someone who watched those pictures 50 years ago, were the actual images of the marchers, African-American and white, as they marched into history.

This is a profoundly moving film, and a brave contribution to the folk history of a nation.
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Why? Moving depiction of an era
When: Current
Where: Cinemas across Australia
Cost: $15 - $18
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