Faith In performance

    ABUSE: Survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests recreate scenes of ritual power within the church.

    For American documentarian Robert Greene, filmmaking is, more than any result, a process – or, it might be more accurate to say, an act of processing. He deals with the facts of history, with an empathetic concern not only to convey to audiences what happened in the past but to create a collaborative vehicle of investigation and restaging by which participants can come to terms with the trauma that is the legacy of oppression and power abuses, and experiment with new ways of being that could offer a way out of these harmful legacies. Cinema, in this conception, is not just a storage medium for information but a living means of cathartic healing and creative transformation. In earlier films Actress (2014) and Kate Plays Christine (2016), he examined the essence of performance itself and how female identities are compromised by the toxic mythologies and pressures of celebrity. In Bisbee ‘17, he invited members of the township of Bisbee in Arizona to reconstruct the 1917 deportation of migrant strikers. In so doing, engaging with repressed aspects of collective memory, negotiating their own experiences and relationship to prejudice and resistance in a town with a history of anti-unionism and xenophobia afresh, that once prided itself on . . .

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    Carmen Gray
    Freelance film critic and regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
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