Selma, Lord Selma (part 2)

(please read previous post)


And then there's Burnett's attention to detail. The first march fails, of course, because King is urgently needed elsewhere, so the police are free to beat the horde of uppity blacks that have crossed the bridge on their way to Montgomery (didn't matter if the crowd included women and children). A black man is killed in the middle of a riot, but even that's all right--he's only doing his duty.  Killing a white man, however, is a different proposition--it has to be done on a deserted street, with no witnesses (This is different from the actual recorded death, a change for which I can think of only two reasons: Burnett may have felt the historical death too melodramatic to "play" in his film--the man saves a black woman from a shotgun blast--or he simply didn't have the budget to film it. Whatever the motive, Burnett seems well acquainted with the calculus used by '60s America to determine the difference in value between the life of a white man life and the life of a black man). I noticed that whites other than Daniels are barely characterized, but this works too--we are seeing them through black eyes, who would hardly have been given the privilege of seeing into any white soul, at least not in this town.



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