See also Book Club and In a World... above.
Lovely movie. I saw it at a repertory cinema years ago, and I also have it on Blu Ray. It also happens to be the Tarkovsky movie closest to the work of another of my favorite directors, Terrence Malick.Just ordered Tarkovsky's Mirror because :
(sorry you will have to click "watch on youtube" to see the clip, worth it.)
I assume this was a fictional case? And was it set up to be so even that people could only really choose based on their prejudices?Free, White and 21 (1963)
Documentary-style courtroom drama from low budget director Larry Buchanan. Shows us every detail of a criminal trial from the beginning to the end. The charge is the inherently controversial one of a black man accused of raping a white woman. She's a voluptuous Swedish woman, come to America as a "freedom rider." He's a businessman, owner of the hotel where she stays, and offers her a job as a model. During the trial, we see flashbacks of her side of the story, and his. Near the end, we get a full three minutes of watching a clock as the narrator tells us to vote Guilty or Not Guilty, which I assume is what they had theater audiences do when this first came out. To my amazement, they don't stop with this "you be the judge" kind of ending, but actually show us the final verdict.
Not Guilty. The final words of the opposing attorneys, who seem to be close pals when not arguing against each other in court, suggests that the jury reached this decision because "we love intruders even less" [than black people.]"
In 1963, the racial aspect of the story was probably the most vital part of it. In 2020, the "he said/she said" aspect seems more important. The whole thing is very serious and earnest, and may be the most realistic trial I've ever seen in a fictional film. What that means, really, is that it is often deadly dull.
The story goes that it was a fictional case, loosely based on something that happened to a friend of the director.I assume this was a fictional case? And was it set up to be so even that people could only really choose based on their prejudices?
As far as how the evidence is presented, well, given the Rashoman-style conflicting flashbacks, the truth of the matter is difficult to determine.The movie was based on a true story about an English girl who stayed at a motel owned by a black man, Tony Davis, who was a disc jockey. She later claimed Davis raped her and he was arrested. Davis was a friend of Buchanan and agreed to work with him on the film even before the trial finished.