Concerning Violence (4 stars)

Concerning Violence

A smart, passionate essay film from Göran Olsson, narrated by Lauryn Hill

This sobering, important and expertly curated documentary details Africa's hard-fought liberation from colonial rule in the 60s and 70s. Narrated by the musician Lauryn Hill and directed by Göran Olsson, the viewer is taken through nine definitive 'scenes in the anti-imperialistic self-defence' in a film taking its lead from the book The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon.

Concerning Violence opens with an introduction from Indian literary theorist and philosopher Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak who refers to the film as a 'teaching text' and references German philosopher GWF Hegel’s master-slave dialectic and Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks. It makes the point that education is a powerful weapon in the fight for power very early on and unveils shocking violence as it illustrates the dehumanisation of the black African populace by the white man.

Passages of prose play out over atrocities and extreme violations of basic human rights. From the enforcement of western culture and ideals on African countries – including the work of self-righteous missionaries who claim to be helping – to the sombre scene of a mother and child nursing torn limbs after air strikes, this is a powerful, intelligently put together essay film.

Olsson has selected footage which reveals blind hatred towards an entire race, including an interview with a settler in Rhodesia which is particularly stomach churning. He also includes a speech by Thomas Sankara – often referred to as the African Che Guevara – to further highlight the ongoing struggle 27 years after his assassination. Olsson's film is designed to shame and provides a raw reminder of how greedy capitalist culture has exploited a continent and its people, but it is also a passionate, proud and deeply affecting educational tool which puts forward a plan of action by tracing a passage through the past.

Selected release from Fri 28 Nov.

Concerning Violence - Official Trailer

Concerning Violence

  • 4 stars
  • 2014
  • Sweden / Finland / Denmark / US
  • 1h 18min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Göran Olsson
  • Cast: Lauryn Hill, Kati Outinen, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
  • UK release: 28 November 2014

Smart, sobering and thoughtful documentary detailing Africa's hard-fought liberation from colonial rule in the 60s and 70s. Olsson suggests that self-righteous missionaries are just as implicated as those who commit atrocities and human rights violations; the film puts forward a plan of action by tracing a passage through…