This week’s podcast is about one of America’s favorite genres: cop movies. The episode takes inspiration from a series that recently screened at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, titled “Watch the Cops! Policing New York in the Movies,” curated by scholar Pooja Rangan and filmmaker Brett Story. The program included a small but eclectic range of films, including big-budget genre flicks Cop Land and Dog Day Afternoon, which show how ambivalence about policing is often resolved in pop culture; the documentary Making Do the Right Thing, a behind-the-scenes record of the Spike Lee classic and a glimpse into how movie-making impacts local communities; and the activist film, The Torture of Mothers: The Case of the Harlem 6, a docu-fiction about a famous 1965 case of police brutality and wrongful conviction.

Film Comment editors Devika Girish and Clinton Krute invited Brett and Pooja to discuss the thinking behind their selections and to guide them through the thought-provoking ideas underpinning the program. See below for links to several must-see films featured in the series.

Links and things:

Excerpt from Black Journal: The Black Cop (Kent Garrett, 1972)

By Any Means Necessary (Paul Garrin, 1990)

Copland (James Mangold, 1997)

Frame Up! (Steven Fischler, Joel Sucher, & Howard Blatt, 1974)

Making “Do the Right Thing(St Clair Bourne, 1989)

The Torture of Mothers: The Case of the Harlem 6 (Woodie King Jr., 1980)

Four Propositions on True Crime and Abolition” by Brett Story and Pooja Rangan in World Records Journal: Volume 5


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