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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMB Film Series: “The Other Side”


For the third installment of the spring 2016 UMass Boston Film Series, attendees watched “The Other Side.” Curator Chico Colvard sat down with the film’s director, Roberto Minervini.

On Thursday of February 18, the Film Series at University of Massachusetts Boston screened the new documentary, “The Other Side.” The movie follows different groups of people in the south of the United States, who seem to be forgotten by political institutions. Following the screening, there was a Q&A with the Texas based and Italian born film director, Roberto Minervini.

The movie is implicitly divided into three parts, each one focusing on a specific group of people. The first part of the film is about unarmed drunkard veterans discussing the new Presidential candidates, freedom in the U.S., and the American dream. Throughout the entire film, Minervini focuses on capturing the emotions of the characters, as well as just demonstrating the daily routine in their lives. One such scene in the movie is when the veteran tells his friend about a poem that ‘a little girl’ gave him. While reading the poem out loud to his friend, the veteran tears up, mainly because the poem assures the person reading that he is not alone or forgotten.

There were several other scenes that the director explained to be allegorical. One of these scenes showed a pregnant woman getting injected with heroin. Minervini explained that the scene showed that in “sociopolitical marginalised groups, struggle is inherited.”

For the first half of the film, the filmmakers switch between telling the veteran’s story to following Mark and Lisa’s lives, who are drug addicts in love, struggling to come clean and have a new start. Almost half way into the film, it abruptly stops with Mark and Lisa’s story and moves to a different location, showing ex-special forces soldiers training somewhere in the woods to prepare for an “upcoming war.” Most of them claim to be training to protect their families from a “civil war” in the country; they believe to be inevitable with the coming of the Syrian refugees and the U.N.

The director, Roberto Minervini, explained that what led him to follow these specific groups of people in the United States is his interest in marginalized groups. Growing up in a communist family in Italy, Minervini explained that the idea of violent struggle for revolution was emphasised to him as a child. In addition, the director explained that he has a special interest in studying and giving a voice to the marginalized groups, in this case in the United States: “I’m really drawn to sociopolitical discourse debate, since it is part of my heritage and part of who I am; I’ve been missing that since I’ve been living in the U.S.”