The Maryland Film Festival is this week, but most of Baltimore is far less interested in films and much more interested in video.
Video of Freddie Gray being pulled off the ground and into a police van, events that would lead to the 25-year-old’s death in police custody and six police officers facing criminal charges; CNN footage of local activist Joseph Kent calling for nonviolence putting his hands up and being pulled into a humvee-style truck on Tuesday night; the dozen or so videos of Baltimore residents telling national media to shut up and listen to the people that are actually from here, including Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes challenging the usage of the word “thugs,” Baltimore Spectator trolling Geraldo Rivera, or any number of residents disrupting the blathering of national news anchors and letting some truth sneak through; a curfew-breaker getting doused with tear gas last Saturday. We could keep going.
Along with the usual diversity of the festival’s lineup, this year’s MFF feels particularly prescient to this historical moment for Baltimore. Many films are explicitly political, such as Khalik Allah’s expressionistic chronicle of residents of 125th Street, “Field Niggas,” or Stanley Nelson’s studious documentary “Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution.” Others films screening resonate in new ways in light of current events like Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing,” which will be presented by rapper Abdu Ali, “Beats of the Antonov,” “Crocodile Gennadiy,” “Frame By Frame,” “Welcome To Leith,” and “Western.”
And then there are the films afforded brief reviews in this issue, which, although they do not tie to the current situation, are considered expressions of empathy and understanding. So whether you want to find something relevant to recent events or something to help you escape from them, you should be able to find a film that fits the bill.
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