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Slideshow

PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

DID YOU WONDER WHO FIRED THE GUN?

Final Day - Tuesday, March 13

2:00   4:00   6:00   8:00

PRODUCED, WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY TRAVIS WILKERSON

Formally audacious and emotionally powerful: a meditation on conscience and responsibility, in the context of a documentary on race in the American South, as well as an exhumation of family secrets that may include a double murder. Travis Wilkerson begins with TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, introducing the “secular saint,” Atticus Finch, but he reminds us that Harper Lee’s story was fiction, “whereas mine is true.” He continues: “In 1946, my great-grandfather murdered a black man named Bill Spann and got away with it.” His movie is a detective story with important roles played by the filmmaker’s aunt (a Southern secessionist), by a 31-year-old local activist named Rosa Parks, by the rap song Hell You Talmbout by Janelle Monáe, and by the still-resonant words of a Phil Ochs song that memorializes white activist William Moore.

With support from the Richard Brick, Geri Ashur, and Sara Bershtel Fund for Social Justice Documentaries

USA • 2017 • 90 MINS. • GRASSHOPPER FILM

Reviews

“Intense, mesmerizing, and heartbreaking.  A fascinating bridge between the two (MUDBOUND and A GHOST STORY). It's hard not to...get shivers up your spine — from fear, from anger, and from the beauty of Wilkerson’s filmmaking.. Wilkerson’s work, like Rees’s MUDBOUND, is about two families, one white and one black. And like that film, it shows how one family takes root and establishes itself through the force of privilege, class, and violence - pushing the other out into the void.”
– Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice

“CRITIC’S PICK. A scorching and rigorous essay on memory and accountability…a buried landmine that has lost little of its explosive power… DID YOU WONDER WHO FIRED THE GUN? is a passionately political film, aflame with rage… It is also a horror movie, full of specters and silences and a terror that is pervasive, intimate, and elusive… Bracing, like a shot of strong liquor that leaves you with a clearer head and sharper senses.”
– A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“Prompts one of the most powerful reckonings in recent American cinema.”
– Jordan Cronk, Sight & Sound 

“In the words of director Wilkerson, ‘a white nightmare story.’ A siren call to confront the past. It feels trite to say that Wilkerson’s film must be seen, but there’s no way around it. It’s the kind of honesty and ownership that’s rarely seen in film, let alone in real life.”
– Karen Han, Daily Beast

“America’s heart of darkness. A chilling study in white supremacy. A searing, one-of-a-kind creation. (The film) could be described as essayistic; it’s also a surprising, discursive, form-expanding work of art. Few films can be artful and blunt at the same time.”
– Scott Tobias, NPR.org

“...Serving as the movie’s narrator - and making the expressive most of his deep, darkly insinuating sepulchral voice - Mr. Wilkinson sifts through the personal and the political, travels down eerily lonely Alabama byways and deep into anguished history. The result is an urgent, often corrosive look at America’s past and present through the prism of family, patriarchy, white supremacy and black resistance.”
– Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“For twenty years, [Travis] Wilkerson, one of the most rigorous and intelligent American documentarians, has been making films that interrogate the malevolent effects of capitalism on the American Dream.”
– Amy Taubin, Artforum online

“An enormous story…it could be twice its seventy-minute running time, but Wilkerson’s purpose appears to be less a matter of personal history than of a personal confrontation with history - and a quest for the personal basis of political action.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker online

Film Forum