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A Reckoning in Boston

Available screening types




Available until

Jan 01, 2025

Available in

United States of America, Canada

Brought to you by

Bullfrog Films

About the film

Kafi Dixon dreams of starting a land cooperative for women of color who have experienced trauma and disenfranchisement in the city of Boston. By day she drives a city bus; at night she studies the humanities in a tuition-free course. Her classmate Carl Chandler, a community elder, is the class’s intellectual leader. White suburban filmmaker James Rutenbeck documents the students’ engagement with the humanities. He looks for transformations but is awakened to the violence, racism and gentrification that threaten Kafi and Carl's very place in the city. Troubled by his failure to bring the film together, he enlists the pair as collaborators with a share in the film revenues. Five years on, despite many obstacles, Kafi and Carl arrive at surprising new places in their lives – and James does too.




1h 24m




James Rutenbeck


Carl Chandler, Kafi Dixon, James Rutenbeck

Executive Producer

Llewellyn Smith, Anne Marie Stein


James Rutenbeck

Upcoming screenings

Awards & recognition

Independent Lens

Nationwide Broadcast

Morehouse College Human Rights Film Festival

Best Feature

Independent Film Festival of Boston

Official Selection

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

Official Selection

Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Official Selection

What people are saying

A superb examination of our city's inbred racial inequities that tackles the subject on both the systemic/structural level and the deeply personal...An absolute must see, especially for white audiences who think they know their hometown.

Ty Burr

The Boston Globe

Boston seems to be ready to teach others a thing or two- like about founding a country, producing scrappy fighters and scrappier lawyers and scientists. Little surprise then that filmmaker James Rutenbeck found something waiting for him when he went to document a community humanities course in Dorcester, a Boston neighborhood. Thinking to turn on his camera on and let the students work through the Clemente course, a program for those who have faced great obstacles but long for a deeper relationship with critical learning, Rutenbeck soon found himself questioning his choices. It’s a powerful documentary, one that those who create community and those who want to participate in that creation, should watch.

Rebecca Romani

Vanguard Culture

A Reckoning in Boston lands like dynamite

Gerald Peary

The Arts Fuse

Racial inequalities in Boston come to the forefront in this powerful documentary...Viewers get an unvarnished look at historical and present-day obstacles facing many people of color...Providing plenty of discussion material, the film never shies away from exposing apparent racism, bias, and class divide.

Sue-Ellen Beauregard

Booklist Online

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