Bullfrog Films, which services both the general and educational home-video markets, once more shines a spotlight on racial injustice in the Windy City by releasing "'63 Boycott" (2017) on DVD as a companion to the reviewed "Cooked: Survival By Zip Code" documentary on the 1995 Chicago heatwave. The titular civil disobedience is a protest against the blatant segregation of public schools by school superintendent Ben Willis to a degree that REQUIRES commenting "whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?!"
The impact of both "Cooked" and "Boycott" includes their topics sadly being highly relevant in this COVID-19 era that is exasperating the wealth gap in America. One comment in "Boycott" that hits this former prep-school boy particularly close to home is that white parents in Chicago escape the ills of public education by sending their kids to parochial or private schools.
"Boycott" mostly consists of modern-day interviews with the students and the activists that were there and of archival footage and interviews from the period of the titular demonstration. One of the most impactful interviews is with a black woman who was in high school at the time who received a harsh response to expressing her aspiration to be a research scientist.
"Boycott" furthers depicts an insult to the injury that black students of the day endure as to their schools being separate but not equal. The term "Willis Wagons" refers to students being assigned to classrooms in trailers in overcrowded schools despite better-funded white schools having excess capacity. A cute animated graphic clearly shows how schools even just across the street from each other can illustrate that contrast.
The plethora of DVD bonuses greatly enhance the "Boycott" experience. One feature is on students who stage a play and host the "old school" crowd in response to a screening of the documentary. Another notable extra is of the Chicago world premiere of "Boycott," which gives viewers a chance to ask the talking heads and the filmmakers about their experiences.
The big picture this time (as is the case regarding "Cooked" and many other Bullfrog releases) is that the powers-that-be continue to show callous disregard for the folks who have the greatest need for their support.