rasx() on film: 2009

The year 2009 damn-sure should be the toughest year in my adult life. I learned quite a bit—but not enough about writing about film. This year only has one half-dozen entries from my Blog—apart from those compiled in “DVDs with the Elders.” Nevertheless, here are references to films that I’m exceptionally proud to recommend.

2009-04-29: “Movie Dare: You make a movie about this… Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “The twist out of the stereotype is that Black girl is upset about her best friend dating a Black guy because she expected her friend to do “better” than that. You might remember a scene from Christopher Morahan, his epic, The Jewel in the Crown, where Daphne Manners is described as “diminished” for being in a relationship with Hari Kumar. In an effort to show something of what Elaine Brown calls “New Age Racism,” we see a Black girl in 21st century fiction essentially saying the same thing that was said in 1940s-based fiction. You’ve come a long way, baby…”
2009-04-29: “When you only have time to see one African genocide movie, see ‘Sometimes in April’ Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “What is very, very, very important about Sometimes in April is this shot from a scene with the lovely but mud-covered Pamela Nomvete: African people stopped the African killing. Raoul Peck made a point to show this—and you can listen to him on the commentary track of the DVD referring to this explicitly. Just in case your multi-billion-dollar-Hollywood-produced aversions are having trouble interpreting this scene (hey, it can happen to me too), Peck is showing us an African soldier saving an African woman and an African child.”
2009/05/07: “Kenneth Branagh’s and Lawrence Fishburne’s Othello “Now, on the flip side of the Roman coin, I have also heard very, very strong suggestions from the days of my impressionable youth that Othello’s love for Desdemona was blind—to be blunt: colorblind. I don’t know what script my appointed educational authorities were reading but Othello under Oliver Parker’s direction has Lawrence Fishburne at a very pivotal moment explicitly identifying Desdemona’s beauty by her skin color. Lawrence Fishburne in the show says, “Yet I’ll not shed her blood, nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow, and smooth as monumental alabaster…”
2009/05/25: “‘Days of Glory’: The African Soldiers of WWII Buy this product at Amazon.com! “My captive hope is that it is not too ignorant to regard Jamel Debbouze as the Chris Rock of France. You can see how adorable he looks in this shot. Harold Hyman describes him as “the impish one.” I’m surprised to know that he was in Spike Lee’s 2005 film, She Hate Me—but I know very well about his work in Luc Besson’s Angel-A (2005).”
2009/07/14: “The Cinematography of James E. Hinton for ‘Ganja and Hess’ Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “The name James E. Hinton is a very important answer to my begging question. He was the cinematographer for Bill Gunn’s second directorial effort in 1973’s Ganja and Hess. This ethereal and effortlessly African image of Mabel King (as the mythical “Queen of Myrthia”) compels me to wonder about the cinematography—and sparks my curiosity about James E. Hinton (and Bill Gunn). Apart from some fascinating tidbits in the DVD extras, I am still looking for more about James E. Hinton.”
2009/10/16: “Abdoulaye Ascofaré and the Film That Touches Me Most “For those with little feelings for such African works, you might dig into a similar artistic story of third-world girls faced with sex slavery. See Lukas Moodysson’s Lilja 4-ever. The first act of the film features a heart-wrenching scene where a mother abandons her teenage daughter. I had to stop watching the movie for weeks before I decided to finish the film.”