Fe26 follows two gentlemen around the East Side of Cleveland, Ohio and examines the tensions between illegal work—in this case, the stealing of manhole covers and copper piping—and the basic survival tactics that exist in areas of high unemployment.
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Taken alone, at a brief 7 minutes FE26 may seem superficial, but this short film is part of a very large body of work that also includes Park Lanes, which shows a full 8-hour work shift in real time. Collectively, the films of Kevin James Everson are an impressive study of contemporary, working-class African-American life. My rating for FE26 is in the context of this larger body of work.
If you click through to the blog post, the filmmaker tells you: "I often include sculptural objects that I have made as props in my work; in Fe26, these objects include the manhole cover and crowbars that were incorporated into the situation at hand." Learning that this seemingly impressionistic documentary is partially staged, it becomes an even stranger and more haunting work. Everson is a serious visionary!!
Like the Jodie Mack shown yesterday ('Something Between Us'), this has a mysterious poetry that is more than a sum of its parts, and that comes from a mysterious place, in this case seemingly from outside the frame, somewhere behind us, underneath us. Both have edits that seem unusual to me, and the mystery maybe slips in through the gap between each shot? I hope we see more Everson here soon. Several in a row, plz!
From the title alone, you can tell that this film is not simply functioning on a surface level. Everson wants the viewer to think critically and search for the answers. But the touch to this film does not end there, he shows how any story is worth knowing, especially when it is delivered the right way. The short is detached, but this is for a reason. Though it did not personally touch me, it drives me to dig deeper.
it's all about the budget. young, independent filmmakers from marginalized communities simply don't have hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in a film project. in a mere seven minutes, Everson has crafted a statement about post-industrial America and provided a voice to the voiceless. now, the challenge is distribution. maybe this is a new genre? a collage of these films could offer a new look at our world.