The besties review
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United in Anger: A History of ACT UP
Enlightening documentary about activism in the face of the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and 90s. The archival footage is the real strength of this film, though the various “talking heads” are also effective, as members of the ACT UP group offer their perspectives on the groundbreaking activism that was going on at that time. To me, the most emotional and affecting demonstrations depicted were the “political funerals” held in front of the White House. You can see anger and resentment turn to grief in real time, and it is extremely powerful.
Free Angela and All Political Prisoners
This is a solid documentary about an extremely important figure in American history. I wasn’t totally engrossed by the style of the film, but there is something unquestionably valuable in speaking to the woman herself, so I enjoyed hearing Angela Davis speak about her own life.
I know the circumstances are completely different, but the way the Egyptian Army attacked protestors in the beginning looked a hell of a lot like the way American police have been attacking protestors in New York, Portland, and all over the country. If nothing else, this movie shows just how far a militarized state (like ours) would be willing to go to stay in power. Nobody in the US should watch this and think it could never happen here, because we’re already witnessing the beginning of it.
“I don’t think it’ll ever stop, really… I mean, it may not be like this, but it’ll never stop.”
A fascinating and terrifying historical document. Before watching this, I thought I knew what the Rodney King riots were all about. Turns out, there was a lot more going on outside of the actual court case. One thing I wasn’t even aware of was the extreme tension between the Black and Korean communities in Los Angeles at this time, and the fact that much of the destruction was to neighborhoods that were majority Korean.
“You can’t perform the duties of a police officer, and have racism in you.”
Well, I think you can’t perform the duties of a police officer and not have racism in you.
A very affecting documentary and an essential follow-up to LA 92. This is 1992, 2014, 2020, and onward.
What is 5 Film Film Festival (5FFF)?
In short, 5 Film Film Festival is an ongoing personal project to help me watch more classic films. For each mini “festival,” I will choose a random theme (be it a genre, actor, director, etc.) and curate five movies that fit that theme to watch for the first time. When I started this journey, I posted my brief, unpolished thoughts on Letterboxd. I like this more informal, less pretentious mode of watching older movies, so as I begin documenting the project here on the site, don’t expect a lot of in-depth analysis— every “review” will read more like a “first reaction.”
If you’re like me, and you have more than a few blind spots in your cinematic knowledge, then consider joining me on this lifelong endeavor. Watch along, recommend themes, and organize some mini festivals of your own!