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Erik Madigan Heck, an acclaimed New York photographer and filmmaker, is using the power of film and dance to protest police brutality in a beautifully tough-minded new short.
Entitled The Enemy, Heck's latest film — shot on the streets of Red Hook with a designated cop car surveilling the production — fluidly captures a balletic duet between a black pedestrian and a white police officer that is at once graceful and aggressive, before segueing into a larger ensemble piece that transpires on the same street, but also in an ambiguously dark space in which the dancers are bathed in red light.
"It seems like every four or five days, you turn on the TV and see another death," Heck tells New York. " I can write a Facebook rant, but everybody does that..."
Some hot-button topics are so inherently divisive that any work of art which attempts to reckon with them is likely to draw instantaneous ire without even being watched. But Heck's film warrants a more engaged and respectable response.
You know all the facts and statistics about police brutality in this country, or at least you should. Heck's film is an enraged outcry in response to these tragically growing numbers, but it also lays out a daringly and atypically hopeful vision, centered around an issue that merits at least three-and-a-half minutes of your undivided time and an inestimable amount of your ongoing consideration.
Watch Heck's inventive and hopefully fruitful film below.