Counter Act (Review)

Four directors. One film between them. A film with a powerful enough message to win at the Hot Shot Shorts contest.

As well as being written and directed by the Affolter brothers, Jon, Nathan, Thomas, and Heath, Counter Act takes place in the 1960s when racial bigotry was so accepted that, if you were a different colour than Caucasian, it was okay for anyone else to decide not to serve you. Taking place at the whitest malt shop/cafe, our story begins as a young, overweight woman named Alice  (Teal Fiddler) steps in — and already everyone judges her on her size.

But whispering is cut short and the crowd gets more suspicious when a black couple (J. Alex Brinson and Naika Toussaint) walk in, sit at the stools, and request a simple cup of coffee, and a donut (if it is possible). Of course, they are refused service and Alice decides to join them in their fight because, well, she believes everyone deserves to be served. This causes tension in the cafe and when the resident bully Richie storms in, things take a turn for the worse. Alice learns what hardships are more scary than denial of service or being insulted for looking different.

A powerful film with a lesson about something that still is an issue nowadays, Counter Act may not seem to have a whole lot of plot, but the characters are shown to have some strong personalities, and more interesting is how the end of the film is handled. A rather interesting work of art in a style that has been seen before that still makes for a worthwhile film with a clear and true message about what was wrong back and then and is still wrong now.

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