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Strong Island

This documentary (and one of the Oscar nominees for 2018) is the story of the death of William J Ford, African-American, as told by his brother (who directs the film) and the family, friends, and members of various agencies involved in the investigation. What makes this documentary stand out from similar ones is the very personal way the director tells the story. William’s brother uses close-ups in interviews with himself (his face usually fills the camera, and he looks directly at you as he is speaking; it is difficult to look away). He also incorporates photographs that he straightens out and arranges on screen while telling the family story as his parents met, how they ended up in Islip, Long Island, raising a family in a neighborhood that seemed as segregated as those in the south they left, and the impact William’s death had on his friends and family. This movie gets a big thumbs-up for a different and unique telling of a story of yet another senseless death.

About Gary Burkholder

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