Göran Olsson is a mild-mannered, middle-aged Swedish radical. A documentary filmmaker from the industrial port town of Göthenburg, his most-used medium is starkly, poetically reworked archival footage, and the subject matter of his two most recent films are violent liberation struggles. The Black Power Mixtape, an arthouse smash released in 2011, told the story of the years of urban unrest and revolution at the heart of the American civil rights struggle.
His new film, on view as part of Swedish festival Way Out West’s excellent film programme, isConcerning Violence, and may be the most confrontational documentary released this year. Voiced by Lauryn Hill (yes, that Lauryn Hill), it splices archive footage of the wars of African decolonization with excerpts from Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth. Called a prophet of black revolution, and published after the Martinque-born psychiatrist and Algerian independence fighter’s death in 1961, the text is a shot across the bows of the then-crumbling colonial complex.Concerning Violence, however, universalizes its core message – owning people and countries is an awful way to make money and racist violence makes people really, really, really angry – and leaves a shuddering message for us all. We spoke the director over the phone.