“I can’t breathe.” This line was one of the most prevalent and striking statements from last year. These were some of George Floyd’s last words, as he was inhumanely arrested and choked to death by Derek Chauvin, a former police officer from Minneapolis.
Floyd’s death drew outrage from people in and around the United States, and sparked hundreds of protests and calls around the world. His murder on May 25, 2020, also raised awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement and propelled it to a global scale.
This crucial topic is what the 2020 movie Two Distant Strangers focuses on. It sheds light on how Black Americans, Asians, and other minority groups in the US have been protesting against discrimination for decades now, all of them calling out oppressors and racists who belittle and even abuse them.
The movie, which won as the Best Live Action Short Film at the 93rd Academy Awards, is directed by Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe, and co-produced by Jesse Williams, who is best known for his role as Jackson Avery on Grey’s Anatomy. (Read: People of Color Win Big at the 93rd Academy Awards!)
Two Distant Strangers centers in on Carter James, a Black American who works as a graphic designer. (Read: 3 Times Beyoncé Gave Voice to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ Movement)
One day, while going home from a first date, Carter encounters Merk, a police officer who confronts him for various reasons. This sets off a time loop wherein he wakes up from his date, encounters Merk, and ends up getting killed by the police.
Every loop was different— Carter would be confronted on the street for something he didn’t do, for being mistaken for another man, or simply for no reason at all.
Relevance at its Finest
Two Distant Strangers is a very timely movie as reports of Black Americans being wrongfully convicted, or worse, being killed for no reason, are still circulating on the news until now. In fact, the most recent one just happened in April this year, when 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot by Officer Kimberly Potter.
Incidents such as Floyd’s and Wright’s are what Two Distant Strangers wants to show: Black Americans always live with the fear of being killed just for doing the most basic human activities such as walking on the street, buying groceries, or driving on the highway.
It also highlights the preconceived notion that Black Americans are all criminals, just like how people would automatically assume Muslims are terrorists because of everything happening with extremist groups. (Read: Catriona Gray takes stand on racism, joins ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement)
A Good Watch
Two Distant Strangers is definitely a good watch, especially if you want to be awakened to the sad reality that Black Americans face on the daily in the hands of racist law enforcement.
In just a short 32 minutes (the entire duration of the film), you’ll be able to see how these so-called “protectors” of the city twist words for their own personal agenda, which mostly end up with a Black man or woman dying.
Watch Two Distant Strangers on Netflix.