I think that by now you figured out that I tend to shy away from “big movies” as I think you’ll check them out anyway but I have to mention The Best of Enemies. Based on a true story, this is one of those dramas with a really good and engaging atmosphere. The story unfolds matter-of-factly, without melodramatic moments or forced scenes. And it is a crazy story, a story that might seem stranger than fiction, but it is nevertheless true. I have to notice that this hideous and at the same time fascinatingly stupid organization known as the KKK generates really weird stories. You can check out the movie BlacKkKlansman for one of them and check out the story of Daryl Davis for another. And while we’re on the subject I also have to mention their bizarre nomenclature with titles like Grand Wizard, goblins, hydras, titans and other mythical creatures.
The events that really happened here provide somewhat of a blueprint of what needs to happen to resolve some of the issues of inequality and racism. At the very least they could be a starting point for an all-encompassing movement. Sam Rockwell was phenomenal here as the leader of the local KKK chapter, a strange role for him as we kept seeing him more as a good guy. At the other side, Taraji P. Henson was equally if not better as civil rights activist Ann Atwater. A lot depended on their performances and both of the fucking delivered. As you’ve probably seen a movie like this you already know what to expect: great cinematography, engaging dialogue and stellar character development.
It is the year of our lord Satan 1971 and things are not looking good for black residents of a small town of Durham, in North Carolina. Their school burned down and white residents are trying to block the black children from attending school in, back then, all-white schools. The matter goes to the court where a judge orders a charrette to resolve the issue. And if you’re wondering what a charrette is and how it could resolve such a problem, check out this movie.
As racial tensions keep growing in the United States, we keep seeing more and more movies dealing with this subject. I will refrain from my usual commercial ranting because I really liked these movies. They are shining a light on issues that plague American society even today. And while they will not change anything and especially not change the ones who are causing all this trouble, they are still very important. The Help, 12 Years a Slave, Hidden Figures and most recently Green Book are all extremely successful movies seen by millions. They are mostly made for people who already know right from wrong and this is where I must say something.
For most viewers, they are emotionally draining and I think they have a normalizing effect. You go through this experience and say oh my, things were really crappy back then, not seeing or partly seeing what’s going on today. The only recent movie with some meat on the bones is The Trial of the Chicago 7. And only because it focuses on the organizers and how people were motivated back then. Postmodern capitalism has crushed the souls of most of the population and the much-needed change seems distant and elusive. Not to mention undefined and ultimately, unknown.
My humble suggestion is to reexamine the official system of values, perception of self and others and finally, the ability to control your emotional responses. This trinity diverges into more complex issues and explanations that I will not go into at this point, something that answers that next question of actionable intel and plan that you might have. But I digress, as always. The Best of Enemies can be called a light-weight drama, a title that enables it to appeal to a much wider audience, so I suggest you check it out. If for nothing else than to see a really strange and inspiring story. Enjoy.
Director: Robin Bissell
Writer: Robin Bissell, Osha Gray Davidson
Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Sam Rockwell, Babou Ceesay, Anne Heche, Wes Bentley, Nick Searcy, Bruce McGill, John Gallagher Jr.