An immigrant cop from Senegal patrols a David Lynch-like Seattle on a bicycle. Strange and hauntingly memorable. “A deceptively quiet, and completely genuine thing of beauty." — Film Comment
Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
Independence is the most slippery of notions when it comes to describing American filmmakers. It seems freshly appropriate, however, when applied to a vision as singularly odd, and yet as enticingly assured and touching, as that of Robinson Devor’s Police Beat. Z, an immigrant from Senegal, works in Seattle as a bicycle cop. We follow him on his solitary rounds as he responds to complaints and checks out crime scenes. (Every sorry crime we hear about is drawn from Seattle police records.) Z’s mind, though, is not exactly on the job: in subtitled voiceover, delivered in his native Wolof dialect, he ruminates about life and frets about his girlfriend, who may or may not be in the process of dumping him. The mood is hushed, even dreamlike, punctuated with short, often cryptic scenes. The exquisite widescreen cinematography renders Seattle as a kind of paradise: green and lush, yet filled with sadness and danger.
“Devor steps into Lynchian Americana, but chooses to keep one foot in the real. The result is a deceptively quiet, and completely genuine, thing of beauty.” — Chris Chang, Film Comment