Bisbee ’17. 2018. USA. Directed by Robert Greene. 124 min.
In a mining community on the US border with Mexico, internal strife and extreme rhetoric riddle a small town. Is this the state of our union, or in fact a flashback to a century ago? Robert Greene’s inventive new documentary is centered on the Arizona town of Bisbee, where 1,200 inhabitants (many of them foreign-born) were deported by those in their midst as part of a labor dispute in 1917. Greene captures the proceedings of Bisbee’s centennial reenactment of the gruesome incident in an ambitiously scaled, electrifying fusion of nonfiction, musical, ghost story, and Western elements. As townspeople take on the roles of those who led the roundup, and those who were its targets, they contend with Bisbee’s divided past, its effect on the present-day town, and their own outlook on life in America today. With empathy and clarity of vision, Greene gives a stage to the performance of civic values in order to help us all live together a little better. Courtesy of Fourth Row Films