Director Ana Lily Amirpour is in hot water over comments she made following a screening of her new film, The Bad Batch in Chicago.
During a post-screening Q&A at the Music Box Theater in Chicago on June 6, Amirpour was asked by an audience member about her treatments of the black characters in her post-apocalyptic horror film. Warning, there are some spoilers ahead.
“Was it a conscious decision to have all the black people have the most gruesome deaths on screen?” audience member Bianca Xunise asked. “And what was the message you were trying to convey with having this white woman kill a black mother in front of her child and then have her assume to be the mother figure for the little black girl?”
In a video of the exchange uploaded to Youtube, Amirpour asks the moderator to repeat the question to her, although it appears from from her body language that she heard the question correctly the first time. After having the question repeated, her response to Xunise is notably aggravated. After mentioning that other characters in the film also receive gruesome deaths — the film has been touted as being graphically violent — Amirpour’s response to the suggestion that the treatment of the black characters in the film is offensive is pretty deflective.
“I don’t make a film to tell you a message,” she says, followed by some bizarre applause from the audience.
In an interview with Affinity Magazine, Xunise explains how she was hoping to enter into a discourse with Amirpour.
“All I did was ask a question and share my experience. I didn’t accuse her of anything. I just wanted to know what she was trying to convey with the images from her film that could be perceived as anti-black. I shared my story on Twitter because I wanted Amirpour and others to understand that you can’t sweep questions regarding race under the rug. I thought I deserved an explanation that didn’t teeter public embarrassment.”
After Xunise tweeted about her experiences, she said she received backlash from fans of Amirpour’s work. Her Twitter account is now private. Amirpour herself tweeted that she didn’t respond in the best way possible, but that she had felt attacked by Xunise’s questions.
She also tweeted what could be perceived as a thinly veiled dig at Xunise. Or maybe she was talking about herself.
Either way, Xunise told Affinity that Amirpour has messaged her a private apology. But after such a pubic situation — not to mention the still public tweets defending her actions — Xunise feels the apology is too little too late.
You can watch the cringe-worthy exchange below, starting at 9:50.Photos via Getty Images / Ian Gavan