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Two Towns of Jasper
January 20, 2003 5:00 AM   Subscribe

Two segregated film crews, one black and one white, used the perspective of race to create a documentary centered on the dragging death of a black man by three whites five years ago in Jasper, Texas. The New York filmmakers behind the "Two Towns of Jasper" found the differences in perspective before filming began and the divide only grew more distinct during the two-year project. Premieres January 22nd on PBS and has already won multiple film awards.
posted by suprfli (13 comments total)

 
After James Byrd Jr. was killed in Jasper, Dow was appalled and surprised, while Williams was neither.

He wasn't appalled. Riiight.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:20 AM on January 20, 2003


"He ought to be judged for the way he lived, not the way he died," one of the "bubbas," Freddie Warren, says of Byrd.

Ah, I see. However he lived, I'm sure being dragged to death cured him of it.

Margena Gardiner, one the beauty parlor women, faulted her own race for not getting angry enough when Byrd was killed.

"Blacks didn't rage. We didn't burn things, we didn't go out and do an eye for an eye," she said.


Because more violence is always the answer. Right.

Yeesh, how completely depressing. Thanks suprfli, I heard about this film at a party I was at the other day. I don't know if I can bear to watch it though.
posted by biscotti at 7:18 AM on January 20, 2003


This just in! Two different film crews, approaching a subject from two diverse viewpoints produce two totally different films!
posted by PenDevil at 7:33 AM on January 20, 2003


"This just in! Two different film crews, approaching a subject from two diverse viewpoints produce two totally different films!"--

how terribly witty! your clever use of the 'breaking news' motif to convey something that is so OBVIOUSLY not newsworthy, or dare I say, even worthy of interest is very refreshing, original and informative! You have mastered the art of sarcasm, sir, and I am sure the original poster gnashes his/her teeth in regret of daring to post such an embarrassment.
posted by das_2099 at 7:55 AM on January 20, 2003


*bows*
posted by PenDevil at 7:57 AM on January 20, 2003


Pen, I think you missed the sarcasm about your sarcasm.

Either that or you're a tool. Whichever, just a heads up.

I hope I can catch this presentation. It's not that they are different, it's *how* they're different that will be interesting.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:38 AM on January 20, 2003


I heard a clip about the film on NPR and I'm really looking forward to seeing this.

"He ought to be judged for the way he lived, not the way he died," one of the "bubbas," Freddie Warren, says of Byrd.

I heard this clip on NPR. The rebuttal by one of the film makers was that Byrd wasn't killed because of how he lived; he was killed because he was black and convenient. Therefore his death, and all posthumous characterizations of the man and his life and death, have nothing to do with Byrd as a person.
posted by jennyb at 9:41 AM on January 20, 2003


A PS to my last comment: The comments from the other "bubbas" that preceded the italicized statement all revolved around their dissatisfaction that Byrd was not being represented after his death the way he actually was in life. He apparantly liked to drink, smoke, and play cards, although to the credit of the "bubbas," none of them suggested that being dragged to death was an appropriate end for the man. However, none of them seemed to grasp what his death actually signified.
posted by jennyb at 9:45 AM on January 20, 2003


NewsFlash: "PBS heroically premieres documentary revealing enduring quality of rascism in America!" Ah, such a nice, safe liberal topic, rascism. It's like a warm bath, almost. Now, about NPR's coverage of the Jan. 18 AntiWar demonstration in DC - "thousands of protesters" .......(hundreds of thousands, actually....

I, for one, welcome our racially sensitive New York Times and NPR totalitarian media overlords!
posted by troutfishing at 9:55 AM on January 20, 2003


I had an oppurtunity to screen this film at the Nashville Independent Film Festival where I worked, and this a most powerful picture. The movie is incredibly even-handed and horribly painful to watch. You won't believe some of the cruel and delusional comments from some of the townfolk.
posted by brittney at 10:59 AM on January 20, 2003


I wonder about the whole *concept*. For me, it hearkens back to the "wild, wild west", and how a penny novelist might have approached a man on the street about a "gunfight."

(Writer) "What happened?"

(Local Man) "Well, I wasn't there, it was a bad part of town. Good people don't go there. And I didn't know the two men. They lived there. Both were troublemakers I hear. And the one who was a local drunk came out waving a pistol, and the other, who wasn't as drunk, snuck around back and killed him with a shotgun. The sheriff arrested the killer. 'Bout all I know. I guess it happened a few months ago."

(Writer) "But who was the hero, and who was the villain? And how does the town feel about gunslingers running the streets? And is the town going to lynch the killer? Did the sheriff have to organize a posse? I'd better write down what I'm saying. Is this a town 'drenched in blood'?"

(Local Man) "Huh?"

(It's called "preconceived notions.")
posted by kablam at 1:20 PM on January 20, 2003


He apparantly liked to drink, smoke, and play cards, although to the credit of the "bubbas," none of them suggested that being dragged to death was an appropriate end for the man.

He liked to drink, smoke, and play cards? What made him think he could do that? It's not like this is America or something. Oh wait...
posted by jonp72 at 2:21 PM on January 20, 2003


I guess that means I got a draggin' death comin' my way anytime soon too.
posted by Witty at 3:49 PM on January 20, 2003


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