New Documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble Arrives at Perfect Time
Saturday at 7:08 pm
At almost every pivotal moment, in the last century of the struggle for civil rights, Rep. John Lewis has been there. This Fourth of July weekend, as we all reflect on the beginning of the United States of America, the Declaration of Independence, and the ideals upon which the document was written, “John Lewis: Good Trouble” comes to the Music Box Theatre virtual cinema.
The belief that “all men are created equal,” penned by Thomas Jefferson on the parchment signed by the Founding Fathers on July 4th, 1776, is more theory than practice today. As the Black Lives Matter movement continues to gain momentum, it also spotlights the egregious disparities than exist within our society. Thus, Dawn Porter’s documentary spotlighting the life and career of the legendary civil rights activist and Democratic Representative from Georgia is more timely than ever.
Via interviews and archival footage, the film chronicles the life of John Lewis and his more than six decades of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, gun control, health-care reform, and immigration. The core issue to which he is dedicated, and therefore the central focus of the film is voting rights.
Porter explores how Lewis is inextricably linked with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, how today’s Republican party gutted it, and the work that John Lewis and company have done to restore it. As the film shows, Lewis was on the front lines, fighting for social justice at almost every major moment of the struggle for racial equality: the March in Selma, the Montgomery bus boycotts, the Freedom Riders, the lunch counter sit-in strikes, and more.
The film’s title comes from this specific Lewis quote which arrives early in the film: “In 1955, the action of Rosa Parks and the leadership of Martin Luther King inspired me to get into trouble, what I call neccessary trouble, good trouble.”
The film includes a Lewis speech in which he says that he was arrested 40 times during the 1960s, and five more times since he became a member of Congress.
Now 80 years old, Lewis has truly lived a long and illustrious life, which began on a chicken farm in rural Georgia, as the son of a sharecropper. In addition to interviews with Lewis and his family, Porter’s cinéma verité film includes interviews with political leaders, Congressional colleagues, and others who figure prominently in his life. It’s a long list that’s a who’s who of today’s progressive moment including: Nancy Pelosi, Ilhan Omar, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TV, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Now and SB Nation.
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