“The films presented here make propositions or ‘escape routes’ from exhausted classical documentary forms … The overall aim is a gradual construction of an alternative history—a history that has at times been blocked, repressed, censored or hijacked … the films selected ask and often answer the complex question of how political resistance can be articulated in forms that are not only appositely representative of resistance but also embody that shape-shifting in their own diverse historical moments and contradictions.” Sherry Millner and Ernest Larsen

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Watching Program 1 of Disruptive Film at a screening at Anthology Film Archives, I was taken by how the featured filmmakers, spanning fifty years of resistance to police violence around the globe, used a variety of representational practices to counter an easy, tit-for-tat retreat to revealing “real” “hard truths” in the face of either unseen or misrepresented state-sanctioned violence. This is to say that familiar realist practices employed to expose brutal truths that have been covered up through state-sanctioned censorship, deception, manipulation and repression may reveal said truths, but not the more complex, insidious systems of seeing, saying, and knowing that produce and cement the logic of violence that produces and authorizes the brutality in the first place. Filmmaking, as difficult and unfamiliar as this may be, that challenges viewers to contemplate how media (and state) “truth” is made, who owns it, how it circulates, how it pleases us, how it becomes familiar, and how to disrupt it by using other systems of seeing, showing, and knowing, may be a most necessary strategy of resistance in these, just as in other times.

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