Again this year, Denver Film Festival artistic director Brit Withey is offering his must-see picks for each day of the fest — including many flicks that movie lovers might otherwise miss amid the flood of silver-screen goodies. Today he spotlights a selection for November 8: Do Not Resist.
"This was programmed and chosen specifically for election day," Denver Film Festival artistic director Brit Withey says of Do Not Resist, a documentary that deals with law enforcement, race and other hot-button issues.
The film's "jumping-off point is the Ferguson riots," he continues. "And it moves forward through events like it that seem to be happening at almost weekly intervals these days: police shootings, public uprisings, confrontations between police and the public. And the filmmakers get some incredible access. It's a wonderfully shot film that's beautifully horrifying to watch — really well made."
Along the way, Withey notes, the film drills down on "the militarization of police forces and why it is that all of a sudden even departments in small towns have these huge, armored, tank-like vehicles — and where the hell did they all come from? They explore this government grant program that's gifting all this excess military equipment from Iraq and Afghanistan to police forces, and how they're getting things that they don't really need, like bayonets."
The result, in Withey's opinion, is "a really amazing documentary that looks at the sort of ongoing crisis state we've been in now for several years, and it's going to be interesting to see how people react to it on election day. The film was scheduled almost two months ago, and things have only gotten weirder since then, with talk about contested elections and violence. It wasn't necessarily meant as a political statement; it was more about what politically minded people might want to see then. But it could be a fascinating reflection of what election night could turn out to be."
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.