The Rape of Recy Taylor
Tommy Bernardi, Robert Corbitt, Alma Daniels
New York Film Festival: 1 Oct 2017
Limpid, mysterious, and heavy with darkness, Nancy Buirski’s The Rape of Recy Taylor is a kind of true ghost story. The characters are all real, and the events described are painfully so. But so much of it floats in a twilight gulf between the reality of what happened and what should have happened that it cannot help but feel at least in part unreal.
Of course, to most of the people Buirski interviews here, what happened to Taylor and what failed to happen to the six men who raped her one hot September night in 1944, isn’t just all too real—it’s the reality that they have lived and how they understand it. A reality in which a young black woman in the Deep South never had agency, much less any say over what happened to her person. If a white man wanted to have sex with her, who was she or any other black person to say no?