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526 Ratings

Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?

Directed by Travis Wilkerson
United States, 2017


Alabama, 1946. A Southern racist and director Travis Wilkerson’s great-grandfather, murdered Bill Spann, a black man. The murder has become family lore and when Wilkerson sets out to unravel the mystery, he encounters obstacle upon obstacle, destroyed records and constant silence.

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Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? Directed by Travis Wilkerson
I honestly can’t think of any other feature that captures my home state more accurately — and more beautifully. (In terms of accuracy, the only other contender is The Phenix City Story.)
November 01, 2018
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What about the victim’s family? . . . Wilkerson rightly feels implicated in the history of that absence. In exploring it, his movie offers one of the best recent analyses of what virulent racism, and how we tell the story of that racism, accomplishes. It eviscerates. It incinerates. It can make entire histories, and the people therein, disappear.
June 27, 2018
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It’s an extraordinary personal documentary. . . . The idea that drives Wilkerson’s film is a powerful one, namely, that everyone’s private life and family traditions are inseparable from politics, from ideology, from history—and that the unwillingness to do the practical, intellectual, and emotional work to find out the specifics of those connections and to face up to them is both a form of privilege and a perpetuation of injustice.
February 27, 2018
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