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352 Ratings

Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?

Directed by Travis Wilkerson
United States, 2017


Alabama, 1946. S.E.Branch, a Southern racist and Travis Wilkerson’s great-grandfather, murdered Bill Spann, a black man. The murder has become hidden family lore and when Wilkerson sets out to unravel the mystery, he encounters obstacle upon obstacle, destroyed records and everyone refusing to talk.

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Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? Directed by Travis Wilkerson
Did You Wonder is the first of Wilkerson's films that I've seen, but I was immediately taken by his digressive essayistic style, which mixes archival and home footage, talking heads interviews (filmed in crisp black-and-white) and his severe, yet soothing voice (lent a certain immediacy by the occasional slip of a syllable or unintentionally prolonged pause).
January 22, 2017
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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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The filmmaking is engaging and unsettling, as Wilkerson combines photographs, old film footage, text, and interviews to craft a portrait of the U.S. where racism and violence are never far from view.
April 27, 2018
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