Live From SXSW's Screening Room

THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND

D: Sam Green.

Documentary Feature Special Screenings, Regional Premiere

"Asylum"

D: Sandy McLeod.

Documentary Short Special Screenings SXSW has long had a reputation for programming great documentaries, but Sam Green's The Weather Underground may well be a perfect example of the form. Taut, concise, and overflowing with exceedingly timely details of the militant splinter faction of the Students for a Democratic Society, this is pure, thrilling filmmaking, at once emotionally draining -- you'd need to sit down after watching it if you hadn't been sitting down all along -- and deeply relevant to the current political situation in America. Combining archival footage of the Weathermen/women's "actions" alongside recent interviews with the surviving activists (both in and out of prison), it's gripping in its simplicity. Opening digital short "Asylum," which recounts a young woman's flight from ritual mutilation in her native Ghana, is brutal and unnerving, with McLeod lap-dissolving from her subject to the Ghanaian streets and back, with terror and dismay always a few steps behind. (CC, 3/15, noon)

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