True/False Film: Concerning Violence

I don't know what was going on in Swedish TV in the 60s/70s but it sure was something! Actually, the Producer of the film Concerning Violence, Tobias Janson, shed some light on the state of Swedish tv from that era and his previous collaboration with the director Goran Hugo Olssan, The Black Power Mix Tape, both of which were created using footage from the Swedish TV archives. Apparently Sweden urged its people to go out into the world, to bring their culture to other cultures and, more importantly, to return with documentation of what they found. Janson also said that this cultural exchange happened to coincide with much of the Vietnam conflict so the amount of politically charged work was often dense, the nature of struggle and identity a pronounced theme.  In the case of Concerning Violence the images were a harsh illustration of the strong words of the political theorist Frantz Fanon and his meditations on the driving force of colonization and the inevitable result of decolonization: violence.

Fanon's words would boldly & thoughtfully materialize on the screen, text from The Wretched of the Earth, contemplating the fierce realities of decolonization. If brute force was the only thing allowing the colonists to maintain a position of power, the only means of communication between the colonizers and the colonized, the only way to reverse the system was to react with a greater display of violence. The filmmakers saw Fanon's words as fact but interpreted them through the truth of these facts allowing grainy, textured film images such as the decimation of villages resulting in young, amputated mother nursing her equally deformed baby, the blindness of the stark cocktail sipping colonizers and the entire culture they try to destroy that brings them these drinks, the complete confusion that both sides seemed to suffer from since rationalization and communication was impossible. And, even though we tend to think of colonization in the past tense it is a term that unfortunately can be applied to a lot of modern mechanisms in place today.

The truth that a cultural, national, and often racial, bias currently exists in power structures is something that that no one wants to discuss because of the only logical conclusion that can change these situations, that of violence. Concerning Violence didn't feel to me to be a film in the normal sense, it was more of a warning. A warning brought to us from history & precedence that the filmmakers expertly crafted, looking for a balance of truth and caution in a situation that seems unfathomable in retrospect but is actually quite prominent even today. The materials used to construct this film might be from the past but they speak to a world we still live in whether we want to admit it or not.


 

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