By José Sarmiento Hinojosa
The latest Travis Wilkerson film (who some may know for the impeccable Distinguished Flying Cross) goes beyond its path as a common documentary to become a militant, living organism that quietly meditates throughout some of Los Angeles most significant landscapes, contemplating via anamorphic wide lens, and yet striking the viewer with the power of a denounce film, a strong statement about the anti-radical police led by Red Hynes , the infamous Los Angeles Red Squad, its proceedings against communism, its wide excesses and its final demise.
Part of a series depicting the story of the Police in the United States, the best moments on Wilkerson’s documentary recalls another master of CALARTS: Hints of early Benning (Grand Opera) infuse this documentary with a strong grasp on contemplation, while other influences (John Gianvito’s Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind) take the bet up a notch with a constant focus on one of the most turbulent times in American History.
Wilkerson claims “Beauty can be a Revolutionary Force. They may own everything but they can own beauty” and in that statement one remembers the words of Masao Adachi in Philippe Grandrieux‘ 2011 documentary. More than a strong leftist proclaim, this voice is the call for justice, for freedom and the end of oppression, a shared concern which set this film apart from other similar documentaries. It is in the power of beauty, in the contemplation and meditation of what we see, where we find the most powerful force of all. And Wilkerson, static in his shots but relentlessly nonconformist, has stirred the waters once again.
Director: Travis Wilkerson