2014 Sundance Docs in Focus: CONCERNING VIOLENCE

concerning violenceThis week’s profiles come to an end with the return of alumnus Göran Hugo Olsson to the World Cinema Documentary Competition: Sweden’s CONCERNING VIOLENCE, a provocative meditation on colonialism and liberation in 20th century Africa.

Sundance Program Description:

Göran Hugo Olsson returns to the Sundance Film Festival (THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 played in the World Cinema Documentary Competition in 2011) with this bold, fresh, and compelling visual narrative about the African liberation struggles of the 1960s and 1970s. CONCERNING VIOLENCE combines newly discovered archival material depicting some of the most daring moments in the confrontation with colonial power, accompanied by singer Lauryn Hill’s searing narrative and drawn from psychologist/philosopher Frantz Fanon’s seminal anticolonial text, THE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH.

In this potent, arresting, and surprisingly emotional film, Olsson artfully elucidates Fanon’s psychiatric and psychological analysis of the dehumanizing effects of colonization on the individual and the nation. CONCERNING VIOLENCE makes accessible Fanon’s theory that the violence of colonialism must be met with greater violence to be defeated, as well as his vision and plea to reject the lust for colonial power and instead embrace a more creative and humane society. As a result, Olsson’s powerful documentary makes an accurate, timely, and vital contribution toward building a better world for the future.

Some Background:
Olsson’s trip to Park City in 2011 was very successful – THE BLACK POWER MIX TAPE 1967-1975 took home the world cinema documentary editing award and a domestic distributor in IFC Films/Sundance Selects. He received support from the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program last year for this new film. Rejoining him as producers are his MIX TAPE producer Annika Rogell and executive producer Tobias Janson. Co-producers include Joslyn Barnes and Danny Glover, who served in the same roles for Olsson’s previous film, and as executive producers for Sundance documentary grand jury prize winners THE HOUSE I LIVE IN (2012) and TROUBLE THE WATER (2008).

Why You Should Watch:
MIX TAPE made my Top Ten films list of 2011 and I suspect Olsson’s follow up will figure in a future list. Like his previous doc, this is a smart, well-constructed, and thought-provoking essay film, incorporating fascinating and illuminating archival material that dovetails perfectly with Fanon’s influential 1960 text to create a work of stark immediacy despite its contextualization in the African liberation movements of more than four decades ago. Together with fellow World Cinema Documentary Competition title WE COME AS FRIENDS, these films offer cogent insight on the complex and troubling legacy of colonialism.

More Info:
Watch a teaser from the doc here. For more information, visit Olsson’s production company’s profile page. As they become available, I’ll also link to his Meet the Artist Sundance video profile and to his Indiewire filmmaker interview. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance filmmaker class of 2014 Twitter list.


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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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