Concerning Violence

Sunday 15th February 5:00 PM


There are more and more documentaries being made, many look worthy, but we feel we only have room for one in a season.

'Concerning Violence' was chosen as 'film of the month' by the BFI Sight and Sound Magazine, and certainly ticks all the boxes; in a world where violence is becoming more and more prevalent, how do we choose the good guys from the bad? Are local people right to fight back against colonial forces, or do they just cause themselves more harm?

Still seen as one of the best anti-colonialist theorists, Frantz Fanon's book 'The Wretched of the Earth' is used as the framework of this film, specifically the chapter from which the title is taken. Director Göran Olsson then spent many hours of patient time going through old Swedish news footage to build a story of what happened in Africa, including Angola, Zimbabwe, Liberia and Mozambique. He then uses the voice of singer Lauryn Hill as a narrator to link the pictures back to Fanon's text. By careful placing of the news clips, he tries to bring out the problems caused by the violent colonial troops AND the problems caused by the freedom fighters (surely not terrorists in the context of this film?), and to show the underlying problems caused by the racist settlers (a Rhodesian white man is shown calling his servant 'You stupid thing').

Olsson tries not to make judgements, but hopefully gives us the information to make up our own minds; no bad thing with all the strife we have to sort through on our news bulletins today...


“Through it all, the changing nature of violence (destructive, cleansing, inevitable) is unravelled in illuminating, harrowing form.”

Mark Kermode, The Observer




comments powered by Disqus