Lynch: A History

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USA | 2019 | 85 minutes | David Shields

A mesmerizing video collage rather than a traditional doc, this portrait of heroically controversial ex-Seahawk Marshawn Lynch focuses on his narrative-controlling interview strategies in the context of race and media celebrity in America.

Former Seahawk Marshawn Lynch got in trouble as much for what he didn't say as for what he did, and none of it had to do with his performance on the field. His story is a great one: A young man grows up on the streets of Oakland and ends up winning a Super Bowl ring while never forgetting where he came from. If that were all this was about, that would be fine, but director/UW professor David Shields has bigger ideas. Using more than 700 video clips and a handful of literary quotes, he has crafted a Godardian collage as much about American society as about sports. The movie jumps around, juxtaposing pop-culture images and news clips of racist incidents with sports and mythology and biography. It's exhilarating and keeps you thinking. In a time when sports figures and celebrities are expected to shut up and entertain us—and when even the President will call for players who protest to be fired—Lynch refused to do cookie-cutter interviews and play the part of Star Athlete. The movie, according to the promotional materials, "celebrates Lynch's attempt to be true to himself in a capitalist, racist society that wants to exploit him and that he wants to both exploit and oppose." Ultimately, Lynch: A History is a playful look at serious subjects.

Andy Spletzer

Director Biography 
David Shields, Milliman Distinguished Writer in Residence in the English Department at the University of Washington, is the internationally bestselling author of 22 books, including "Reality Hunger" (named one of the best books of 2010 by more than thirty publications), "The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead" (New York Times bestseller), "Black Planet" (finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award), "Other People: Takes & Mistakes" (NYTBR Editors' Choice), and his latest book "Nobody Hates Trump More Than Trump: An Intervention." The James Franco-directed film adaptation of his book "I Think You're Totally Wrong: A Quarrel" was released by First Pond Entertainment in 2017. A recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships and a senior contributing editor of "Conjunctions," Shields has published essays and stories in the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, Esquire, Yale Review, Salon, Slate, A Public Space, McSweeney's, and The Believer.

Sponsored by Puget Systems, Seattle University Film Studies

  • Director: David Shields
  • Premiere Status: World Premiere
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2019
  • Running Time: 85 minutes
  • Producer: David Shields, Danny Glover, and John W. Comerford
  • Screenplay: David Shields
  • Editors: James Nugent, Christian Palmer, and David Shields
  • Music: James Nugent
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: English
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: Cargo Film & Releasing