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Columns By Other Voicesvoices@moviecitynews.com

A Brave New ‘Wood?

I started paying attention to the Academy Awards in 1996. I was 15 (that makes me 23 now) and I had not one clue about the theatrics that goes into such a ceremony. . But the more I watched, the more it became clear to me that these six months can be as crazy as…

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Quote Unquotesee all »

“By the time the draft was completed, and passed on to my frequent collaborator, director Kathryn Bigelow, I’d written something quite unlike the singular focus and sole protagonists of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. The effort to make Detroit a mirror of the chaotic times led to an ensemble piece, quickly shifting between characters in a nesting doll of movies within movies, a riot film that gives way to racial horror-crime that switches to a courtroom drama, with several detours along the way into a band’s journey, the miseducation of rookie cops and the adventures of a pair of young women experimenting with sexual freedom. It was, in short, a lot of ground to cover in a single picture. But Kathryn was encouraging, and over the proceeding draft we collaborated closely to hone the themes and scope, while attempting to keep alive the spirit of a tough and untamed narrative.”
~ Mark Boal on researching and writing Detroit

What are we doing wrong?
“Well, first of all, by “we” I assume you mean the public, the public approach or the public discourse, which means the discourse that takes place in the media. And for the purposes of this discussion, let us imagine that the media is white and thus approaches the topic of race as if they (the white people) were the answer and them (the black people) were the question. And so, in the interest of fairness, they take their turn (having first, of course, given it to themselves) and then invite comment by some different white people and some similar black people. They give what purports to be simply their point of view and then everyone else gives their beside-the-point of view.

“The customary way for white people to think about the topic of race—and it is only a topic to white people—is to ask, How would it be if I were black? But you can’t separate the “I” from being white. The “I” is so informed by the experience of being white that it is its very creation—it is this “I” in this context that is, in fact, the white man’s burden. People who think of themselves as well intentioned—which is, let’s face it, how people think of themselves—believe that the best, most compassionate, most American way to understand another person is to walk a mile in their shoes. And I think that’s conventionally the way this thing is approached. And that’s why the conversation never gets anywhere and that’s why the answers always come back wrong and the situation stays static—and worse than static.”
~ Fran Lebowitz, 1997