In the movies, one man and one gun is all it takes to keep the peace. In reality, when you're talking about the fear, anger, and frustration generated from poverty and exacerbated by drugs, territorial conflict, and just plain ego, a more empathetic approach is probably better.
In the new documentary, The Interrupters, director Steve James (director, Hoop Dreams) and producer Alex Kotlowitz (author, There are No Children Here) follow several members of CeaseFire -- an organization that mobilizes "violence interrupters" to the streets of Chicago -- as they attempt to defuse conflicts before they occur. With the intermediaries coming from the neighborhood streets themselves -- and in some cases having served time for their own violent pasts -- what James and Kotlowitz manage to capture is a powerful portrait of a populace struggling to rise to its better self through the mediums of reason and community.
Click on the player to hear my interview with James and Kotlowitz.