Concerning Violence

Subtitled “Nine Scenes From the Anti-Imperialistic Self-Defense,” this Finnish documentary (2014) pairs the Marxist rhetoric of Frantz Fanon’s 1961 book The Wretched of the Earth, which diagnosed the deforming effects of colonialism in Africa, with gripping, sometimes disturbing archival footage of subsequent revolutionary movements in Angola, Rhodesia, Liberia, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, and Burkina Faso. Aside from a brief and uncritical preface by Columbia University professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, there’s no attempt to contextualize Fanon’s book, whose critique of European imperialism may have been shocking in its clarity a half century ago but whose celebration of “violence as a cleansing force” cries out for reappraisal after decades of savage postcolonial civil war in some of the aforementioned nations. Enlisting pop singer Lauryn Hill to read Fanon’s words in voice-over only heightens the sense of a pernicious exercise in radical chic. Göran Olsson directed his own script. In English and subtitled French, Swedish, and Portuguese.