What is the difference between reading about a hate crime and finding yourself in the middle of one?
What does it mean to bear witness?
How does it feel to find yourself in the middle of a hate crime with no barrier between you and the act of hatred? And short of leaving the theater or closing your eyes, what if there is no looking away?
The answer is the impact of art.
That is our power.
Is it uncomfortable?
Is it necessary?
Precisely because it is uncomfortable.
Inspired by the French cinema du corps movement, AMERICAN XENO places the viewer in the midst of a hate crime. Consisting of only two shots, the film plunges the viewer into the visceral horror lived by those targeted by racists and bigots, wherever they are in the world. After the hate crime unfolds once, the scene begins anew – with the roles of Victim/Perpetrator performed by different actors, with different outcomes. This set of shifting perspectives deeply affects our perception of the events in important, illuminating and disturbing ways.