Coming to HBO tonight, Monday, December 3:
SAY HER NAME: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF SANDRA BLAND
Kate Davis and David Heilbroner
Traverse City, Chicago, San Francisco Black, New York African Diaspora, Woods Hole, Bahamas, Nashville
An investigation of the controversial death of the titular African-American activist while in police custody.
In July 2015, Sandra Bland was arrested in Texas, an outrageous response to a traffic violation captured in dashcam and witness cellphone footage. Three days later, her body was found in a jail cell, the death ruled a suicide. Davis and Heilbroner give voice not only to Bland’s family, who resist this conclusion and call foul play, but also to the woman herself, benefitting from “Sandy Speaks,” the opinion videos she shot herself. In these video entries, Bland transcends the status of victim to remind viewers of her life, and, especially, her engagement on the very same issues that claimed it, discussing abuse of power by police and the Black Lives Matter movement. This aspect of the film is its strongest and most satisfying; otherwise, its investigative structure suggests explosive revelations that never emerge, resulting in inconclusive findings at best, corroboration of the official police version at worst.