DOXA 2018 review: The Issue of Mr. O'Dell


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      Jack O’Dell was a prominent figure in the American civil rights movement. Throughout his life, he was maligned as a threat to American democracy. In this short film, screening with the NFB’s 1996 classic “The Road Taken”, he sets the record straight and discusses his involvement with the Communist Party, his friendship with Martin Luther King Jr., and his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement.

      Now a Vancouver resident, O’Dell shares his insightful outlook on past and present race relations in the United States, augmented beautifully with the stark and poignant imagery of local filmmaker Rami Katz, who establishes his subject as both a wealth of knowledge and an emblem of brutal honesty. As the 30-minute doc progresses, O’Dell dives deeper into the laws and policies that allow racial injustices to continue, picking apart these institutions and laying them bare for the viewer.