St Louis Superman

****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

St Louis Superman
"Directors Sami Khan and Smriti Mundhra show through this well-edited film, just how traumatic losing someone close can be."

This poignant short documentary considers the young lives lost to gun violence through the story of Bruce Franks Jr, an African-American battle rapper and Ferguson activist, who became a Democratic state legislator in Missouri, where his fellow politicians were predominantly white.

We watch as - inspired by personal loss and trauma - he attempts to pass a bill recognising violence as a public health epidemic. In his spare time, we see him hanging out with his soon-to-be-five-year-old son King - who was born on the same day Michael Brown was killed by a white policeman in Ferguson - and the different mixture of hope and responsibility that brings. Directors Sami Khan and Smriti Mundhra show through this well-edited film, just how traumatic losing someone close can be and give a sense of how wide-reaching that trauma is in a community like the one Franks grew up in, where death by misadventure to gun violence is all to common.

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When Franks, 34, says he's been to "167 funerals", it brings home the epidemic nature of the violence in Missouri and the courage and honesty with which Franks tackles community outreach and his own mental health issues is testimony to both his own strength of character and the trust the directors have gained from him.

Reviewed on: 20 Jan 2020
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A documentary portrait of a 34-year-old battle rapper, Ferguson activist and state representative from St. Louis, Missouri.

Director: Sami Khan, Smriti Mundhra

Starring: King Bruce Franks III, Bruce Franks Jr

Year: 2019

Runtime: 28 minutes

Country: US

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