Directed by Sarah Riazati
Role: DP of Reenactment scene of young Pauli Murray
Supported by a 2018 Princess Grace Award for Film. Completed as part of thesis for Riazati’s MFA in Experimental and Documentary Art from Duke University.
'monumental' is an experimental documentary about toppled statues, Southern history, the legacy of names, the resilience of bricks, the power of poetry, the definition of patriotism, hidden family trees and segregated cemeteries. There is no static history. It lives on, layered in the landscape, painted on the brick mills. Through investigating the ripples of the words and deeds of local postbellum industrialist Julian Shakespeare Carr, paradoxically called “the most generous white supremacist,” and reenacting scenes from the childhood of Pauli Murray, an unsung civil and women’s rights activist, the film scratches away at surfaces of stories about Durham, North Carolina. Careful scrutiny of such surfaces may reveal effaced answers to the questions that history leaves us with today, regarding racial identity and segregation, industrialization and labor, and gentrification and community. As statues topple and new monuments rise, this documentary invites consideration of where have we been, where we are now, and where we are going.