A silent minority
UB professors’ film on death row is shrewd and provocative
Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 22:10
It is hard to imagine how many of those executed prisoners may have been innocent like Kerry Max Cook; the very sense of possibility that even one of them could have been innocent is horrid.
I have been attending the Buffalo Film Seminars regularly since the fall of 2010. I have seen some exceptional films there; I have been there on nights when there are a lot of people in the theater and nights when there aren’t. Never have I seen as large a crowd there as on Tuesday night.
When the film began, after the professors introduced it, something unusual occurred. There was no sound accompanying the images. Professor Jackson ran out of the theater and the audience could hear him notify the movie house attendants.
They tried a second time; there was no sound. They tried a third time; there was no sound. Eventually an audio engineer in attendance went to help. As we were all waiting for them to fix the problem, Jackson told us how, when they first showed the film to an audience in 1979 at Sam Houston State College Criminal Justice Center, the same thing happened: the film began and complete silence.
As I left the theater Tuesday night, I considered the irony of this – that maybe the voices of those on death row are as silent now as they were then. And that is something that is wrong with America.