That a documentary movie trailer receives over a half a million clicks doesn’t happen every day. However, Do not resist seems to be a real blockbuster. Since September the film has successfully been screened in the American movie theaters, was nominated during various film festivals and was awarded as the best documentary movie at the Tribeca film festival.
At Dok Leipzig all screenings were sold out, even though the director Craig Atkinson (Detropia und The Education of Mohammad Hussein)was not present – he was at a different festival. His film speaks for itself and touches on a topic which most people don’t know about: the militarization of the American police. Many councils in the U.S., also many small towns, receive military assets that are no longer in use. Not only vehicles but also a massive amounts of weapons, guns and equipment. The film shows the destructive consequences: In a small town with 30.000 people where no murder has occurred in ten years, two tanks, the so-called Bearcats, now move through the streets. The U.S. spends 35 billion dollars on the military per year, however, a lot of equipment is never used. 40 percent of the vehicles which have now been given to councils have never been used before.
Craig Atkinson does not only portray this armament but further the use of diverse military assets when fighting peaceful demonstrations of the black movement. It becomes very depressing to see how huge tanks and armed troupes with wests and gasmasks confront defenseless demonstrators, pull them apart or brutally arrest them. Teargas is in the air, helicopters circle, crowds of people, screaming, gunfire.
Craig Atkinson also touches on the current topic of digitalization especially in reference to the police force. A lot already works automatically or is technically supported. Small towns are monitored and analyzed through cameras. Airplanes have cameras and do live recording to compile a sort of Google Earth. This allows the police to anticipate crimes or track them later. Cameras in police vehicles can detect license plates and faces and track them in databases to find out if they have already been traced. A great achievement for the police, however a severe interference into privacy.
Do not resist is a thrilling, eye-opening documentary movie that in many moments appears to be an action film.
Text by Florian