ALWAYS IN SEASON (2019)
Featuring Claudia Lacy, Pierre Lacy, Cassandra Greene, Heather Rattelade, Justin Jones, Sherrilyn Ifill, The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Bryan Stevenson, Ashton Lyons, Jaylon Davis, A.J. Willis, Allen Smith, F.W. Newton, Allen Rogers, Doug Lacy, Curt Vincent, Michelle Brimhall, Rev. Gregory Taylor, Harry Singletary, Rufus Duckworth, Robert Howard, Tyrone L. Brooks Sr., Rev. Roger Malcom Hayes and Mike Cash.
Narrated by Danny Glover.
Written by Jacqueline Olive and Don Bernier.
Directed by Jacqueline Olive.
Distributed by The Film Collaborative. 90 minutes. Not Rated.
Screened for Cinematters: New York Social Justice Film Festival.
The world is full of horrors and injustices, but you would have thought that we were past lynching. I mean, true, the post-racial worldview that we thought we had finally arrived at has hit some massively hard times in the last five years, and hate crimes are way up nationally and internationally, but lynching? Really? Can that still be going on?
According to this smart and somber documentary, the answer seems to be… maybe?
More certainly, the stain and scars of lynching are still fresh.
Always in Season looks at three incidents, two in the past and one mysterious hanging of a black teen in 2014.
Director Jacqueline Olive recognizes that she has to be careful, so she threads the needle here artfully, which is why I said maybe above. There is no proof that Lennon Lacy was murdered in that newer case. As so often has happened, despite evidence that the death was suspicious, it was declared a suicide.
Olive just points out the facts. She allows Lacy’s family to explain their doubts about the story, and to explain why the teen was not at all an apparent candidate for suicide – he was a happy young man whose future was bright. There is even a potential theory of a crime that is floated here, which could be race-based, but could also be a more basic case of robbery. (Lacy’s body was found wearing someone else’s shoes, and his expensive sneakers were never found.)
However, no matter what the explanation, the tragic death not only destroyed the kid’s potentially bright future, but it also has ravaged his family, which has made it their mission to prove that Lennon was murdered, despite little or no help from law enforcement.
Always in Season also explores the killing of four people at Moore’s Ford Bridge in Monroe. Georgia in 1946. The horrific experience has become a part of local lore, to the point that on the anniversary every year local people do a reenactment of what happened.
Honestly, the whole idea of the reenactment is rather disturbing. And watching it – normal people and local actors pretending to be a lynch mob tearing a family from a modern car and dragging them to their reenacted death, including vile racial epithets – is very hard viewing. Which is the point, of course. It hardly seems like the type of afternoon outing that most people would want to take a family to, but as some of the reenactors explain, you have to keep a light on the darkness of our past, in order to avoid backsliding into it.
The earliest case is the 1934 killing of Claude Neal, a black man wrongly accused of raping a white girl. This case was particularly horrific, and the details are shocking. We are told how an entire town joined together, putting up fliers, taking ads in the paper for a “hanging bee” and then brutally torturing and killing the man.
So, is lynching still going on behind the scenes; an evil impulse which now hides in the shadows when it once was proudly participated in? There is no hard and fast answer. Olive merely lays out the case and shows that perhaps this barbaric practice is not as far in the past as the civilized world had come to think.
That is a sobering thought, and this is a sobering movie.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2020 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: January 13, 2020.