By Hipolito Munoz, Managing Editor/Publisher
History from a different perspective can be very revealing and harsh. Because of the changing demographics in the US, we have a new point of view and it is creating a new awareness that is redefining the way we see and experience the legacy of the United States. There is no question that the wealthy of this country have always counted on those that work for them to do the manual or intellectual work that they developed and have always used the law to receive the majority, if not all of the financial rewards that those services or products reaped. Now we are beginning to see the origin stories of those that have suffered because of those “heroes.” Those that have been the protagonists of stories published by their co-conspirators are now being exposed.
“Free State of Jones,” is based on the life of Newton Knight, although I am sure it is dramatized, that is the burden that filmmakers must deal with when they want to bring more accurate stories to the forefront. The sanitized stories of that have been ignored are now being retold in a more authentic flavor. As William Faulkner wrote: “The Past is Never Dead. Its Not Even The Past.”
Revisionist history has been a tradition all over the world. There are stories that have been manipulated, reconstructed or invented in order to justify some of the most vile, violent and dehumanizing moments in history. More authentic stories are beginning to emerge from storytellers that just want to tell a different truth, the truth from those victimized by their masters. These stories will never be just entertaining, they are always disturbing and infuriating. For some these are moments of shame and for others these are moments of discovery and of purpose.
Films are very relevant to the communities that they serve, yes serve. As filmmakers tackle different stories that are based on real people or real events, this is a critical moment in which this medium can be part of the conversation or prove to be irrelevant and at worst detrimental to the impending changes in these communities. The film is entertaining, engaging, thoughtful and dramatic, and most importantly, it is timely.