TILL tells the story of teenager Emmett Till who was lynched by White people in the 1950s and of his mother Mamie Till who spent her whole life being involved in the civil rights movement.
It is one of the most known, shocking images in US history: the dead Emmett Till, laid out in a morgue, his face an unidentified mass of flesh and bones, lynched by white racists. In the background you can see his mother Mamie and Chinonye‘s Chukwu‘s TILL centers on her. The story begins in the mid 50s. Emmett and his mother live in Chicago, where racism is palpable, but usually not life-threatening. This is different in the South, where Emmett will be going to visit his relatives for a few days. In Mississippi, Emmett is like an alien, much more confident than a Black person is allowed to be here if he wants to avoid conflicts with whites. His mother warned him, hammered it into him to make himself “small,“ not to risk any conflicts, not to provoke any whites, but Emmett is a teenager and doesn‘t take his mother‘s words seriously. A naive attempt at flirting with a white woman is enough to escalate the situation: the relatives of the woman kidnap Emmett and torture and lynch him. His brutalized corpse is mercilessly shown by Chukwu, just like Mamie Till didn‘t hide the sight of her dead son, but purposefully displayed him. Emmett Till was laid out in an open casket so everyone could see, had to see, the brutal consequences that racism can have. The photos were distributed around the world, Mamie Till spent the rest of her life being active in the civil rights movement, and its success has been slow: it was only in early 2022 that a law was passed regarding lynching as a hate crime, the “Emmett Till Antilynching Act.“ No one paid for the murder of Emmett Till: his two white murderers were set free.
Translation: Elinor Lewy
Original title: Till
USA 2022, 130 min
Director: Chinonye Chukwu
Author: Keith Beauchamp, Chinonye Chukwu, Michael Reilly
DOP: Bobby Bukowski
Montage: Ron Patane
Music: Abel Korzeniowski
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Cast: Danielle Deadwyler, Jalyn Hall, Jamie Renell, Whoopi Goldberg, Sean Patrick Thomas
- OV Original version
- OmU Original with German subtitles
- OmeU Original with English subtitles
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