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Exterminate All the Brutes

Exterminate All the Brutes

  • Premiered: 
    April 7, 2021
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: HBO
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Docudrama
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Historical
  • Tags: slavery, colonialism

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Plot Synopsis

Written, directed, and executive produced by acclaimed filmmaker Raoul Peck, EXTERMINATE ALL THE BRUTES is a four-part documentary that provides a 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 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." 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 plays the lead role in the scripted portions of the film. EXTERMINATE ALL THE BRUTES offers a counter-narrative to white Eurocentric history -- from the 12Th century Crusades through the presidency of Donald Trump -- while revisiting and reframing the profound meaning of the Native American genocide and American slavery, and their fundamental implications for our present. The four episodes are:

"The Disturbing Confidence of Ignorance" (Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 9pm ET/PT): In the series premiere, 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."

"Who the F*** is Columbus" (Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 10pm ET/PT): Peck revisits the stories of Christopher Columbus, the Alamo, and the Trail of Tears from an indigenous perspective in the second episode. 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.

"Killing at a Distance or... How I Thoroughly Enjoyed the Outing" (Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 9pm ET/PT): In the third installment of the series, 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.

"The Bright Colors of Facism" (Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 10pm ET/PT): In the finale, 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.

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Velvet Film