The Rape of Recy Taylor

Some stories are so important that they can overcome a documentary maker’s poor cinematic choices. Recy Taylor, a black woman in rural Alabama, was gang-raped by six white teenagers in 1944; unlike many other such victims, she risked her life demanding justice, but despite an abundance of evidence, no one was ever convicted of the crime. Director Nancy Buirski presents emotional testimony from Taylor’s brother and sister, and suggests that the nationwide protests over Taylor’s treatment helped inspire the civil rights movement. But as if the story weren’t moving enough already, she also tells us how to feel with trite visual poetics (fuzzy and superimposed landscape images) and a soundtrack loaded with spirituals.