HBO Documentary Films’ EXTERMINATE ALL THE BRUTES, from acclaimed filmmaker Raoul Peck (“I Am Not Your Negro,” HBO’s “Sometimes in April”), is a four-part series that provides a visually arresting journey through time, into the darkest hours of humanity. Through his personal voyage, Peck deconstructs the making and masking of history, digging deep into the exploitative and genocidal aspects of European colonialism – from America to Africa and its impact on society today – challenging the audience to re-think the very notion of how history is being written.
The series will debut on HBO with two back-to-back episodes WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7 (9:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), with the final two episodes airing back-to-back Thursday, April 8 at the same time. All four episodes of the series will be available to stream on HBO Max on April 7th to coincide with the linear premiere.
“As writers, creators, filmmakers we have no choice but to try and reflect our societies and give some sort of analysis of them the best way we can,” says Raoul Peck. “And as artists, we need to break the limits of our art.”
The series is based on three works by authors and scholars – Sven Lindqvist’s “Exterminate All the Brutes,” Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States” and Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s “Silencing the Past” – EXTERMINATE ALL THE BRUTES revisits and reframes the profound meaning of the Native American genocide and American slavery, and their fundamental implications for our present.
The series artfully weaves together rich documentary footage and archival material, as well as dynamic animation and interpretive scripted scenes and aims to tell a sweeping story in which history, contemporary life and fiction are wholly intertwined. Peck meticulously disrupts formal and artistic film conventions, freely weaving together scripted and unscripted content.
The scripted portions, written by Peck, are woven throughout the series and together create a storyline where reality and fiction are dramatically intertwined into one multilayered story. Josh Hartnett (“Pearl Harbor,” “Black Hawk Down”) plays the lead role in the scripted portions of the film. The genre-bending series offers a counter-narrative to white Eurocentric history, from the 12Th century Crusades through the presidency of Donald Trump.
Debut date: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT)
In the series premiere, “The Disturbing Confidence of Ignorance,” filmmaker Raoul Peck sets out to illuminate the intertwined currents of hate and bigotry running through history. Focusing on the United States’ legacy as a colonial power, Peck explores how race first became institutionalized, the Nazi program of “elimination” and its antecedents in the West, and the looting of the African continent in a “gentlemen’s agreement.”
Debut date: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)
Peck revisits the stories of Christopher Columbus, the Alamo, and the Trail of Tears from an indigenous perspective in the second episode, “Who the F*** is Columbus.” He shows how “official” history is shaped by those in power and solidified by myth and popular culture. Next, he examines the “doctrine of discovery” used to justify the enslavement of millions of Africans and questions his own story within these narratives.
Debut date: THURSDAY, APRIL 8 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT)
In the third installment of the series, “Killing at a Distance or… How I Thoroughly Enjoyed the Outing,” Peck looks back at human migration, trade, and weaponry, and shows how Europeans used industrialized steel to conduct warfare from ever-greater distances. Then, he explores the endless cycle of militarization throughout the centuries – from George Washington’s efforts to jumpstart American arms manufacturing, to the Monroe Doctrine, and finally, to the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Debut date: THURSDAY, APRIL 8 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)
In the series finale, “The Bright Colors of Facism,” Peck explores the challenge of reconciling America’s true history with its ideals of freedom and democracy, pointing to the struggle for native representation and the legacy of slavery in institutionalized racism today. Reflecting on his time in Berlin, Peck links the modern resurgence of white nationalism with fascism, slavery, colonialism, and Nazism.
EXTERMINATE ALL THE BRUTES is produced by Velvet Film. Written and directed by Raoul Peck; executive produced by Raoul Peck and Rémi Grellety. For HBO; senior producer, Sara Rodriguez; executive producers, Lisa Heller, Nancy Abraham.