CPH:DOX Reviewed: 'Raising A School Shooter' by Frida & Lasse Barkfors

by Olivia Hird

"As the parents muse over personal responsibility, guilt and hope, their acts of everyday life is imbued with resilience"
'Raising A School Shooter' dir. Frida & Lasse Barkfors (Still: Final Cut For Real)

Certain events hold such weight that the gravitas of the occurrence can be communicated in a single phrase. We keenly adopt brevity to cope with the desolation of incomprehensible situations. Columbine is one of these events. ‘I remember thinking that if Dylan was hurting people the way they were saying he was, I prayed he would die.’ Defying biological instinct, mother of Columbine shooter, Sue Klebold’s bold confessional blow opens the film; unashamedly candid about the emotional complexity and perplexity that emerges from such an unwonted position. It’s an intriguing start.

Parents, Sue Klebold, Jeff Williams and Clarence Elliott are left in the aftermath of their child’s reprehensible actions. Their lives are marked by what, to most of us, is a tragic yet distant news story - each child a statistic amongst the 1,677 school shootings in the US since 1970. These three individuals have spent decades working to find a language and a life beyond that one event. Judiciously denoted in the film’s title, blaming the parents is the default direction for pointing fingers. The documentary looks at how to go on existing when a life becomes inextricably entangled in the unimaginable.

Catch up with our previous reviews of some of the stand out features from CPH:DOX here