Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 9:04 pm 
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PAUL HAIRSTON: LIONS IN THE CORNER (2010) - short film in SXSW on Amazon Prime


A rural fight club designed to quell street violence or feuds

I'm not good at reviewing short films but I took a look at a lot of the ones on offer in this Amazon Prime SXSW 2020 selection. I really liked Lions in the Corner, by Paul Hairston, ten minutes distilled from two years of work. It depicts Chris Wilmore, aka Scarface, a former convict turned community leader who runs a fight club in the western part of Virginia in he town young Hairston comes from. It's called "Streetbeefs" and stages hand-to-hand fights to resolve conflicts and combat gun and knife violence in the area. It also provides community for people who need it and is instrumental in keeping him out of jail. Narrated in his authentic, gravely foice by Chris, who knows how street encounters can lead to fatal consequences from his own hardscrabble experience.

Shot in digital and 16mm by dp Gaul Porat, this film maintains a high level of proficiency and a kind of poetic realism that never loses a sense of the roughness of the action.

People may question the assumptions behind this activity, but Chris sounds authentic and the action grabs you. More than that, this is filmmaking that uses the short form with great economy, that's visually exciting, cinematic, rings true and shows great talent. Hats off to Paul Hairston. I look forward to seeing more of his work in the future. (He is based now in New York, and it looks like he is busy.)

Lions in the Corner, 9 mins. 11 secs., included in the cancelled 2020 SXSW Festival selections shown Apr. 27-May 7, 2020 free on Amazon Prime and watched there. It was a SXSW Staff Pick.

Watch LIONS IN THE CORNER h e r e.

Check out his other work on his website and watch his promotional film for Bernie Sanders.

DIRECTOR Paul Hairston
PRODUCERS Tripp Kramer & Jake Ewald
EDIT Cavan J. Faucett
COMPOSER Tobias Norberg
COLOR Josh Bohoskey @ The Mill
MIX Geoff Strasser @ Mr. Bronx

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