“‘Flat-Out’ Formalism: Strong Island as Trans-of-Color Critique”

2020 SCMS Queer & Trans Caucus Chris Holmlund Graduate Student Writing Prize

By Tory Jeffay

Excerpt: “This formal emphasis on surface mirrors the film’s rejection of a mode of seeking truth through uncovering hidden, authoritative knowledge. Flatness, as I theorize it, critiques the logic of the trial, in which the only evidence admissible in court pertains directly to the circumstances of the crime. Ford instead incorporates the evidence of history, space, and body, reaggregating a broad range of evidence by leveling it onto the same flat plane of relevance. Opposing the narrative expectations of nonfiction film in which facts are logically strung together to reveal an authoritative truth, Ford fabulates connections so that landscape, family snapshot, and his own body intersect as evidence in his brother’s murder.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.