Dir. Robert Greene. 2018, 112 mins. Digital projection. Radically combining documentary and genre elements, the latest film from Robert Greene (Kate Plays Christine, Actress
) follows several members of the close-knit community of Bisbee, Arizona, as they collaborate with the filmmakers to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bisbee Deportation, where 1,200 immigrant miners were violently taken from their homes by a deputized force, shipped to the desert on cattle cars, and left to die. In a sustained act of bravura cinema, townspeople dress as characters on both sides of the still-polarizing event, staging dramatic recreations of scenes from the escalating miners’ strike that lead to the Deportation, then enact a massive restaging of the Deportation itself on the streets of the town, on the exact day of its centennial anniversary. With current events looming in the background, Bisbee ’17
does not so much as yank the past into the present as reveal how it has never gone away.
“Clearsighted and gratifyingly complicated. What we are witnessing is not the commemoration of a past disaster but its reanimation. Every important thing this movie is about is still alive.” —A.O. Scott, The New York Times (Critic’s Pick)
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