07 April, 2015

ATLFF Review: "Old South" (***)

"Old South" screened at the 39th annual Atlanta Film Festival

Set against the backdrop of a divided Athens community, "Old South" explores the neighborhood struggle between two communities and their desire to preserve their historical legacies. On one side, there is Kappa Alpha (KA), a white fraternity known to fly the Confederate flag and stage antebellum-style parades. They move into a predominantly black neighborhood, whose citizens are still very much aware of the treatment their ancestors endured from the Civil War era. Through candid interviews with its residents, the documentary does an appropriate job of providing perspectives from two racially different communities. However, the documentary itself is decent at best and I would not consider it a "must-see" from the Atlanta Film Festival.

The film is told mainly through the eyes of Hope Iglehart, who is fighting to preserve her mother's home. The house, which has been in her family for three generations, is the only one remaining on the block after the introduction of the newly established KA house. Danielle Beverly, the director of the film, highlights Hope's journey to protect the home aptly, following Hope as she presents her case at local government meetings to preserve the house as a local historic designation.

The cinematography and direction of the film is pretty lackluster. Nothing in particular stands out in the documentary. However, Beverly does a good job of highlighting the tension (and eventual mutual acceptance) between the two communities. It's an average documentary with an interesting subject matter; for that reason, I think the film is worth watching and believe "Old South" will especially resonate with our Georgian readers.

3 out of 5 stars.

"Old South" is an official selection from the 39th annual Atlanta Film Festival. It was in competition for best documentary feature. 

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