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Gently does it

Published by The Economist on Wed, 31 Dec 2014


SELMA' could easily have ended up as a covert biopic'afilm about one man's struggles disguised as an epic about the tribulations of many. In the hands of Lee Daniels,the intended original director who dropped out to make "The Butler", a vastly inferior film also indirectly about the civil-rights movement,it might have become a syrupy Oscars showboat.But 'Selma' is not just about Martin Luther King and his involvement in the marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965, and the Voting Rights Act they helped bring about. It is about the people he helped and those who helped him. It is a modest but insightful film about collective contributions, rather than godlike leaders, with ordinary citizens shaping the course of history through subtle and often spontaneous choices rather than ingenious design.A hundred years after the end of slavery, and a year after the Civil Rights Act designed to end segregation in the southern states was passed, blacks were still effectively barred from voting. In the town of Selma, the unrest led to peaceful protests, boosted by King's support, and to violent...Continue reading
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