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Searching for Angela Shelton

In this film, the road functions differently than in the other films we have watched. The road functions as a way of connecting all of the Angela Shelton’s with one another. The road is not the primary subject matter in Searching for Angela Shelton, and the story centers not around the road, but around Angela Shelton’s abusive childhood and her personal search for answers from her family. What emerges, as a result of each meeting with a different Angela, is a commentary about the serious issue of abuse towards women in the United States. I would argue that Angela does not use her camera power responsibly in this film. While her attempt to turn the film into a story about women as a collective body who need to band together and change the problem of abuse in our country, it seems like her attempts to do this were overshadowed by her own personal story and tragedy. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, she edited the film in such a way that undermined the other women’s stories by continually interrupting their interviews with details about what happened to her when she was young. The phone calls she made to all the Angela Shelton’s were reckless because she jumped into conversations about abuse with no regard for what wounds she could be opening up. It seemed dangerous to take no precautions when calling all of the different women. Like we discussed in lecture, an assurance that she was leaving these women with at least information about where they could go to talk to someone if they needed to, would have helped. I thought it was even more irresponsible that she did not incorporate all of the social, economic, cultural, political, etc. factors that have significant bearing on what some of the women went through. It tended to simplify issues of abuse down to the mere actions of a man. While the intentions were there to make a film that shed light upon the issue of abuse towards women, the way in which it was filmed simplified a complex issue. I would have made the story less about my own personal “quest for answers? and would have used my story more as a starting point to open up critical debate on the issue. More discussion about solutions and talking with people who were making a conscious effort to form solutions to the problem would be included as well.