Friday, September 4, 2009


Raging fires, hideous cruelty--Negroes treated like dumb animals, as FBI agents Gene Hackman and William Dafoe visit the town where three civil rights workers disappeared, searching for clues.

Even if you weren't around when it happened, or only vaguely remember hearing about it, the movie is a frightening, powerfully suspenseful recounting of an investigation by two FBI agents of a real event -- the Ku Klux Klan murders of three altruistic young men in 1964.

Southerner Hackman charms his way through the pinch-mouthed residents of the town where the civil rights guys disappeared, while Dafoe acts upon the evidence gleaned by his partner. Hackman solves the case by influencing beauty-parlor worker, Frances McDormand, who is deeply troubled by her Klan-connected husband's brutal beatings of Negroes.

Director Alan Parker's vision of southern Mississippi is stunning -- shocking -- every element in the film, cast, story, music -- each scene burns in my mind, and takes me back to a time I wish I could forget -- the plight of Negroes in the those days.

Finding the bodies of the young men, figuring out who murdered them and how it was done, arresting, punishing the Klan members who control the town, speaks to me now, even more than it did when I saw "Mississippi Burning" when it came out in 1988.

Election eve last year -- November seems like yesterday -- our prayers, tears, cheers for the black man we voted into the White House, and now, today, the troubles he is having making what we want him to do happen, what we elected him to do happen.

I saw the movie again the other night. Click -- here's one of the promotion previews for "Mississippi Burning."

This movie shouts at me, moves me deeply -- here I am with tears, cheers, and prayers that we'll help, not hinder what our president is trying to do for us all.

No comments: