DIRECTED BY: ALAN PARKER/1988
KINO LORBER STREET DATE: JUNE 18, 2019
Director Alan Parker (Fame, Pink Floyd The Wall) tackles civil rights in his 1988 film, Mississippi Burning starring Gene Hackman and Willem DaFoe. Centering on two FBI agents, with very different styles, investigating the disappearance of 3 civil rights workers in 1960’s Mississippi, Mississippi Burning was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, winning for Best Cinematography (Peter Biziou, The Truman Show).
While based on real events, Mississippi Burning compiles many stories of the racist south during this time and continues to evoke a strong emotional response to its story, leaving audiences to wonder how anyone can treat another human being in the ways depicted in this film. Harder still is knowing that historically this time was not so long ago, and racism continues to devastate our society some 55 years after the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965.
Agent Ward (Dafoe) is the straight-laced bureaucrat who wants to investigate the disappearance of these civil rights workers by the book. Agent Anderson (Hackman), a former Mississippi Sheriff, knows this approach is dead on arrival. With the prominence of the Ku Klux Klan, and a police force that is racist at best, involved in the disappearance of the civil rights workers directly at worst, this case will require them to fight just as dirty as the perpetrators of this crime.
Mississippi Burning features the talents of R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket), Brad Dourif (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Michael Rooker (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer), and Academy Award winning actress Frances McDormand (Fargo, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). Hackman, who was riding another wave of success in the 1980’s from the Superman films to the feel-good sports film Hoosiers, plays well against Dafoe who was coming off of the Oliver Stone film Platoon, and that same year appeared in Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ.
This release of Mississippi Burning on Blu-Ray features a brand new high-definition master that was forged from a 4K scan on the original camera negatives. Kino Lorber, who has released this film, includes both a theatrical trailer for the film as well as audio commentary from director Alan Parker for this release where he discusses the filming and the importance of the subject matter.