Monday, February 15, 2010

Thoughts about Murder City

Glad Brad stopped us for a few minute talk after Murder City. I suppose my question about the film pertains to audience. Who was this film made for? Was it made to instill pride in the gangstas being represented? It definitely seemed like the filmmaker (Al Profit) had inside relationships with most of his subjects. Maybe he wanted to make a film that represented his subjects the ways in which they chose to be represented. I did not get the impression that he was adding a veneer of glorification. It seemed to me that his subjects, rather, created personae that were based on the glorified model of the gangsta or hood.

Here is Profit's Statement from

“Murder City” is an important film for one reason: it gives a voice to people that are rarely heard in the American media and uses the history of crime in Detroit as a backdrop for the real stories of real Detroiters, not the neatly packaged tales told to us by police, reporters, and politicians. The amazing way that the interview subjects opened their personal lives up to the world gives a truly unique look into the real way that the social disorder and economic decay in Detroit leads normal people into extraordinary events like robbing people for their coats with a 12 gauge shotgun, smoking crack cocaine with their brothers and sisters around the family dinner table, and dispensing complimentary plates of soul-food alongside bags of heroin.

Profit does not discuss the need to develop a gangsta persona or "shield" which might be wise (he's not a sociologist). On the other hand, I do question a possible voyeuristic thrill in which words like "extraordinary" sum up the conditions that have cost many human lives and caused communities to crumble.

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