Whose Streets? Screen 88 of 4 reviews

Whose Streets?


Whose Streets? Poster
  • One white Missourian I met at the festival told me quite frankly that the film had spurred within her something of a crisis of conscience, persuading her not only of the invalidity of the mantra ‘all lives matter’, to which she’d previously subscribed, but also – and I swear I’m not making this up – of the need for reparations. This is programming as a political act, and paradoxically, its power lies in being less prescriptive, not more.

  • The movie that moves me the most at the festival this year is Whose Streets, Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis’ first-hand chronicle of the Ferguson protests and the Black Lives Matter movement. The footage is stunning, depicting an American war zone with unflinching humanity and lending platform to the men and women fighting for equality against an endlessly powerful system. But this film is not propaganda, not even journalism. It’s pure artistry.

  • Folayan and her co-director Damon Davis spotlight the voices and the experiences of the Ferguson community, blending interviews, on-the-ground images and mobile-phone footage of various protests and violent police actions to create a stirring portrait of resistance.

  • Folayan and Davis take an evenhanded approach: civilians loot stores and burn police cars, whereas police officers fire tear gas and aim rifles at peacefully protesting crowds. The five "chapters" of the film seem arbitrary, though the passage of time allows for some searing moments, like the locals' fight to keep the city from cleaning up a memorial to the victim, Michael Brown Jr., in the street where he died.