BWW Review: Sedona International Film Festival Presents AN ACT OF TERROR
Which is the greater terror? To be humiliated endlessly and without recourse and to know that "to get out of line is to be dead?" The certain knowledge that the scales of justice are irrevocably weighed against you? Or the moments before the voltage of an electric chair fries your body?
AN ACT OF TERROR, directed by Ashley Paige Brim (Homeland) and co-written with Rachel Rush (American Crime Story), is a film of conscience that weighs heavy with these questions as it relates, in quasi-documentary detail, the harrowing experience of 17-year-old Virginia Christian, the first woman (a juvenile!) to be executed in the 20th century (1912) ~ and, more to the point, a victim of the South's systemic (Jim Crow) discrimination of African-Americans.
Olivia Washington (Lee Daniels' The Butler, Mr. Robot, The Comedian) is riveting as a young maid accused of the murder of a former employer and summarily sentenced to execution by an all-white male jury in Virginia. Her desperation is palpable as efforts, mobilized by the NAACP and the famous civil rights activist, Mary Church Terrell (Tonya Pinkins), fail to reduce her sentence to life imprisonment on the grounds that she acted in self-defense. A juvenile of shy demeanor, she nevertheless is strident in her understanding that no amount of effort will relieve her of the mockery of a show trial and its inevitable consequences. The great irony is that, prior to being summoned to the scene of the crime, her family exhorted her to be generous. Generosity, however, was never to be reciprocal.
The film, in only 15 minutes, is a haunting representation of the insidious nature of racial injustice in America. The point is accentuated as the screen flashes to a modern-day image of a police shooting of a black woman, only then to return to the grueling and unsparing scene of the execution.
AN ACT OF TERROR is one of the features at this year's Sedona International Film Festival.
Photo credit to AAOT Film
Sedona International Film Festival ~ https://sedonafilmfestival.com/ ~ 928-282-1177
Saturday, February 23rd through Sunday, March 3rd
Purchase passes at https://sedonafilmfestival.org/purchase-passes/
Multiple venues: Mary D. Fisher Theatre, 2030 W. Highway 89A; Harkins Theatres, 2081 W. Highway 89A; Sedona Performing Arts Center, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road