Directed by Kelly Fyffe-Marshall, Black Bodies is a short film on what it currently means to be black in America. Told through spoken word, the viewer experiences the major issues affecting the black community as a result of centuries of systemic discrimination, including police brutality and the disadvantages they have solely based on the colour of their skin. As a result, Black Bodies is a powerful film with a strong message that could not have been timed better.
Set in what appears to be a small prison complex, surrounded by murdered black bodies, the film immerses the viewer in the uncomfortable feeling of what it’s like to be Black. The spoken words describe the centuries of oppression brought on by their ancestors’ slavery at the hands of their white slave owners. Despite being “freed” not too long ago, it is no secret that black people still feel powerless and are still oppressed due to racist governing powers like the police. The film ends on a strong message, as the poet gets shot and a black woman is left powerless to help.
These intense visuals show not only the lack of power black people feel that they have, as but also how accustomed to pervasive racism and police brutality the community has become. Living in a society embedded with systemic racism, some members of the black community have accepted their place as a lower-class citizen and simply accepted they will be treated, not only less important than white people, but even human garbage due to the color of their skin. Black Bodies also shows the absurd amount of power police officers have in America, with a ‘license to kill, with no repercussions’.
Personally, I enjoyed Black Bodies greatly as it definitely felt much needed at this time. Over the course of this summer, we have seen many riots for police brutality on Black Americans. Highlighting the fear and how unsafe it is to be black in America, the film sums up some of this year’s major events, including Breonna Taylor’s murder in her sleep and Eric Garner’s famous last words, ‘I can’t breathe’. The film’s last scene also brings up how the “Black Lives Matter” movement current feels within the general public. Much like the woman who leaves the poet after mourning, Black Lives Matter feels like it’s lost momentum. After not being able to defund the police, they have accepted the racial system in place and unfortunately lost hope, even from its own communities.
Overall, Black Bodies is able to express the incredible struggle of how it feels to be Black in America. Highlighting the history of systemic racism on the Black community and how it’s still affecting black Americans to this day, Bodies is an effective piece that offers perspective to anyone who doesn’t understand the current Black Lives Matter movement and why it is so necessary.