The work of community leaders seeking to curb gun violence on the streets of Chicago is captured with gritty complexity in this confronting documentary from Oscar-nominated filmmakers Bing Liu and Joshua Altman.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2021
In two of the most violent regions of Chicago, community self-help groups struggle desperately to stem the rising tide of shootings in their neighbourhoods. All These Sons offers audiences an on-the-street look at the lives of the young men most likely to be perpetrators and victims of gun violence in Chicago’s notorious South and West sides.
Directors Bing Liu and Joshua Altman (Minding the Gap NZIFF 2018) present a non-judgmental examination of the complex factors contributing to the region’s boggling crime stats. At the heart of the narrative are two older community workers struggling to keep the young men in their charge out of trouble through group work, providing housing and opportunities for employment. Life is a bittersweet blend of familial and neighbourhood love shadowed by the ever-present threat of violence from rival gangs and police.
But at the core of the film is hope. Hope that not giving up on these young men can make a difference; hope that they can reject society’s narrative of being ‘irredeemable’; hope that structures will change if those they oppress can reclaim control of their lives. — Adrian Hatwell