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Nothing Human (Tom Rosenberg | USA | 17 min.)
A minimalist study in extreme violence, Nothing Human is about forensic investigator Louie Akin’s experience reconstructing the 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood where Major Nidal Hasan, a military psychiatrist, killed 13 soldiers preparing to deploy to Afghanistan.
Akin recounts the 3 year investigation that placed him at the intersection of America's endemic mass shootings and ongoing military campaigns in the Middle East. After years analyzing every blood trail and bullet hole, interviewing hundreds of traumatized witnesses, Akin’s is an exhaustive, systematic accounting of this violent scene. His work necessitates distance, precision and rigor, while simultaneously forcing him to confront the most troubling aspects of human behavior.
The film consists mostly of a single interview with Louie walking around a sound stage painted with a full scale enlargement of his own reconstruction of the crime scene - a giant array of numbers and arrows, showing with clinical precision the positions and movements of the shooter and his victims. The film refuses imagery of the crime scene itself, rejecting the aesthetics of sensationalized cinematic violence and placing the audience more firmly in the perspective of a bureaucrat, a perspective that is both fascinating and unnerving for its sober precision.
Tom Rosenberg is director and cinematographer based in Texas. His work deals with the place of mass violence and the religious apocalypse in American culture. His films have won awards and screened internationally at HotDocs, The Viennale, CPH:DOX, Art of the Real, Locarno and other major film festivals. He is also a licensed private investigator.