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Monday, July 27, 2015

Selma (2014)

This is a biopic that is focused on one moment in time for the celebrated leader Martin Luther King, Jr., much like the movie Lincoln did for the life of Abraham Lincon.  The event was a pivotal one for King, and the story allows for an illumination of his character, his charm, and his flaws while describing a time in history.

There is really no drama in the story itself since everyone knows what is going to happen.  So the telling becomes all the more important, and that is pulled off very well in this movie, despite the fact that none of the actors, with the possible exception of Tim Wilkinson as Lyndon Johnson), looks at all similar the the people they are portraying. 

These people were very brave.  They were motivated by justice and their lives were oppressed, but they had a lot to lose, and the movie uses some clips of the actual march to show the risks and the marchers bravery.  Two things struck me while I was watching the movie. The first was the use of the Confederate flag to demonstrate white superiority.  It is just such a red flag, pun intended.  The other is how little has changed in the intervening years.  The suppression of voting is still with us.  The burning of black churches in the south is still with us.  The unequal treatment of African Americans under the law is still with us.  All of this 150 years after the Civil War.  The arc of history is indeed long when it comes to change.

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