Bring Down The Walls: Review

Bring Down the Walls

BRWC at Sheffield Doc Fest 2020: Bring Down the Walls

Esme Betamax | @betamaxer

Bring Down the Walls asks one question: How can we deconstruct the prison industrial complex? With prisoners numbering in their millions, the US has created a lucrative business model and a monster. Changes in police tactics and laws over the past 40 years have propped up a system that is heavily stacked against Black people. 



Directed by artist and filmmaker Phil Collins, Bring Down the Walls is a multi-level project. He uses a former firehouse in Lower Manhattan as a community hub (school by day, dance club by night). Collins documents the stories that people share about prison, and the performances of formerly incarcerated DJs and singers. Collins’s previous projects share themes of music and overlooked people. This video, relating to his documentary Tomorrow Is Always Too Long (2014) gives you a sense of his motivation and interests.

Bring Down the Walls was filmed in two locations. The Firehouse, Engine Company 31, New York, in 2018, and Sing Sing Correctional Facility, New York in 2015. Correctional Facility. They don’t even call it a prison any more, and the power of language is one of the discussions you can hear at talks in the community. Collins’s decision to house the project in a firehouse is notable too–a public service dedicated to protecting people as the police are supposed to. (No one ever made a song called fuck the fire department)

Bring Down the Walls

There is no better time to talk about abolition, and Bring Down the Walls shows how these conversations can come about. It introduces concepts through the voices of people who have lived their lives in the shadow of the American penal system. With so many of them sharing stories of vulnerability, fear, and shame. This is a space where gay and trans People of Colour are able to speak openly about their trauma and find common ground.

Bring Down the Walls

The stories told in Bring Down the Walls are arresting, and necessary. They require reflection. In the context of the film they serve as an in-breath. The out-breath manifests in sequences filmed in the club, a pattern that repeats throughout the film.

Collins asserts that house music and politics are inextricably linked, originating in the late 70s, when this particular form of police brutality was on the rise. House music is at the core of the film, and it is a vital form of communication. They have produced a record, also called Bring Down the Walls. It is a double album of classic house tracks, covered by former inmates, and is available on Bandcamp. Bring Down the Walls is dedicated ‘In solidarity with the millions of human beings held in cages in US prisons and jails, and their communities and loved ones’

Watch the trailer here


We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.


Trending on BRWC:

Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1

Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1

By BRWC / 9th July 2024
I Saw The TV Glow: The BRWC Review

I Saw The TV Glow: The BRWC Review

By BRWC / 25th June 2024
Inside Out 2: The BRWC Review

Inside Out 2: The BRWC Review

By BRWC / 23rd June 2024
Boys Like You: The BRWC Review

Boys Like You: The BRWC Review

By Rudie Obias / 21st June 2024
Spirited Away: Review

Spirited Away: Review

By BRWC / 28th June 2024

Cool Posts From Around the Web:



Esme Betamax is a writer and illustrator. Often found in the Cube Microplex. Favourites include: I ♡ Huckabees, Where the Buffalo Roam, Harold & Maude, Being John Malkovich and In the Shadow of the Moon.

NO COMMENTS

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.