An interesting short film has been making its way across the film circuits. Aaron Burr, Part 2, is a 9 minute comedic film that purports to retell the story of Hamilton and Burr’s duel from Burr’s perspective. Much like Gore Vidal’s Burr, the film is filled with inaccuracies, but I think it raises some interesting dialogue points. I’d be curious to know what It’s Hamiltime readers think.
The Atlantic’s description states:
Complete with iPhones, battle reenactments, and a very snarky first person narration, this short film is a hilarious take on the event that tarnished Burr’s legacy. Aaron Bur, Part 2 comes from director Dana O’Keefe. The film has been showcased in film festivals across the country, including SXSW and the Dallas Film Festival where it received the Jury Prize for best short film.
Film School Rejects states:
Why Watch?Dana O’Keefe and company take up the task of humanizing Aaron Burr, an incredible figure whose memory has been reduced to one label: the man who killed Alexander Hamilton. In this unconventional take on history, Burr is a man out of time, sliding between his pre-Revolutionary days fighting in Canada and a modern day New York City where hip hop hugeness paints his larger-than life with every slow motion step.
It’s tough to say why this works. Maybe it’s because Burr appears here as a ghost kept alive by the people that remember him, foolishly trying to set the record straight while lamenting what time has done to the world he knew. Maybe it’s the hipper-than-thou attitude it carries. Maybe it’s because it’s the kind of comedy that keeps a straight face. Or maybe it’s just because it’s really damned cool.
Short of the Week writes:
The effect is brilliant. Reimagined as a brooding anti-hero, Burr (Alex Kliment) enchants. It’s a crazy comparison, but with the culture obsessed as it is, Burr reminds me of a vampire, a historical Lestat. Beautiful, dangerous, he haunts the modern lanscape, filled with regret, damned by an unforgivable act committed ages ago.
Mirroring the theme, if History is a contested narrative, the narrative of the film is a contest between its various styles. Amazingly the film has been programmed as both a fiction and documentary film, playing reputable venues like SXSW, HotDocs, and being nominated for the Cinema Eye Honors, as one of the best documentary shorts of the year. With its archival images and historical re-enactments, it shares elements of films in the Ken Burns mode, however its playful style is much more in line with modern American fiction directors like Wes Anderson in its dramatic use of music, slo-mo, and on-screen text.
You can watch the film on Vimeo here.
True/False Film Fest also had an interview with director Dana O’Keefe about the film.