film review

Rock Hill: Counter Histories 

by louise giAdom

 (3/5 stars = ★★★)

The best way to describe Counter Histories: Rock Hill is an extensively in depth presentation, a slideshow of pictures and clips that transport you back to the 1960s painting a vivid picture of the time, supported by voiceovers and interviews with people who lived through it all.

As much as I enjoyed this documentary, I must admit that it was sometimes difficult to follow. Possibly the most distracting part of this film was the choice to have background music play throughout; it was sometimes difficult to hear what people were saying because of how loud the music was, too overpowering for everything else happening on screen. Eventually, around halfway through, I found it easier to block the music out and focus on the dialogue, though I did see its usefulness on certain scenes near the end. We all know how effective music is in film though in this case it felt misplaced a lot of the time especially with how loud it was.

Also, at some point there’s mention of a KKK member hating one of their white allies but it doesn’t seem to really fit in with anything else being spoken about making it stand out quite awkwardly.

I personally love watching documentaries and I was excited at the prospect of this one, about such an important time and event that helped shape the civil rights movement. Overall I’d say that Counter Histories: Rock Hill is a good documentary. It’s informative and enlightening, full of personal accounts from the men involved in one of the most important events of that time and provides insight into some of the experiences of racial discrimination lived through by an entire generation. Its short length helps stop the film from feeling overwhelming with the sheer amount of information being thrown at us and ultimately makes it more enjoyable. Though it was sometimes difficult to follow, it was an interesting watch and a recommended watch for anyone interested in learning more about 1960s America and the journey to the implementation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.