“Exterminate all these brutes”, the guilty silences of history



Raoul Peck is not a historian and does not claim to be. The filmmaker, former Minister of Culture of Haiti, his native island, a great traveler since childhood, examines the world with the eyes he has forged over the years and encounters. In 2017, I’m not your nigga tried to discern, by summoning the figure of the writer James Baldwin, the springs of racism in the United States.

→ CRITICAL. “I’m not your nigger”, the dark side of American identity

The large fresco, of four documentaries of fifty-two minutes, presented this Tuesday 1er February on Arte, extends its approach to a larger scale. Titled with a phrase fromIn the heart of darkness by Joseph Conrad Exterminate all these brutes intends to go back to the roots of “white supremacy” in the world.

A documentary based on the work of historians

Based on the work of three historians, the Swede Sven Lindqvist, the American Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and the Haitian Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Raoul Peck wishes “deconstruct” the historical narrative provided by the “winners”, punctured, of course, by deafening silences.

In an almost interrupted narration, the raw, impatient stamp, the filmmaker pours out a torrent of horrors and pain. Anger too. In the second part entitled “P… of Christopher Columbus”, Raoul Peck points to the deadly absurdity of a vision centered on Europe where populations only exist from the moment they have been “discoveries”.

This monumental documentary work, made up of archive images, reconstructed scenes and spectacular infographics, tracks down the mechanisms of domination since the 15th century.and century and the establishment of the Spanish Inquisition. “For the first time, the concept of race based on blood is law”, pleads the filmmaker assuring that the slave trade, the extermination of the indigenous peoples of America and the Holocaust would come from the same movement. An affirmation that shakes up and should not fail to make people react, but opens the way to fascinating reflection.

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