One of the best decisions I’ve made is signing up for the Tribeca Film listserv. Though I haven’t been able to attend the festival in a few years, their weekly emails have kept me up to speed on what’s happening in the film world.
Thanks to the Watch This Short feature, I learned of the short film Stop, which was screened at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. The film follows an African-American teenage boy who, on the way home from baseball practice, is stopped by the police. Considering the national conversation regarding police brutality and New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy, the film is very timely. Director Reinaldo Marcus Green presents a narrative unlike those normally shown of inner-city youth. Xavier, the protagonist, and his friend capture natural teen conversations, discussing girls and college scholarships.
The decision to use only natural light makes the film difficult to see at times, but works to the film’s advantage by heightening the tension. Without so much as verbal identification, cops in plain clothes begin to pat down the protagonist and search his bookbag. I could feel my heart rise to my throat as the humiliating scene ensued. The officer’s polite “Get home safely,” only added insult to injury.
The film’s ambiguous ending was unexpected, but certainly gives the viewer more to consider. Green’s short film is a perfect example of economy in storytelling. It is simple, yet impactful.