Producer’s Film Picks for September 2016
The theme for this month – Three American Paintings: Arcs of Color
Southside With You (2016)
Written and directed by Richard Tanne. 84 minutes.
The film stars Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter.
Synopsis: The first date of the most famous couple in the US is depicted as two Chicago lawyers spend a summer afternoon together in 1989. Critic Richard Brody said “As for their viewing of Spike Lee’s movie, the scene that Tanne derives from it is a minor masterwork of ironic psychology and mother wit. It’s too good to spoil; suffice it to say that the scene is set against the backdrop of controversy that greeted Lee’s film at the time of its release, with some critics—white critics—fearing that the climactic act of violence (meaning not the police killing of Radio Raheem but Mookie’s throwing a garbage can through the window of Sal’s Pizzeria and leading his neighbors to ransack the venue) would incite riots.”
Daughters of the Dust (1991)
Written and directed by Julie Dash. 113 minutes.
The film stars Cora Lee Day, Kaycee Moore, Barbara O, Cheryl Lynn Bruce and Alva Rogers.
Synopsis: Narrated by the Unborn Child, we are shown the experiences of a family in 1902 recovering from slavery. The matriarch in this drama holds a picnic to honor the family members who moved north while the remaining members reconcile their stories from recent traumas. Critic Roger Ebert wrote about Dash’s debut feature: “Somehow she makes this many stories about many families, and through it we understand how African-American families persisted against slavery, and tried to be true to their memories.”
The film won Best Cinematography at the 1991 Sundance Festival and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize.
Fruitvale Station (2013)
Written and directed by Ryan Coogler. 84 minutes.
The film stars Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz and Kevin Durand.
Synopsis: A biopic about 22-year-old Bay Area father Oscar Grant and the events that led up to his death by a transit officer. Critic Peter Rainer: “In bringing this story to the screen, Coogler has chosen not to focus much on the legalities of the tragedy that unfolded that night, or to create a documentary record of it. Instead, he follows Grant (Jordan) on the last day of his life as he drops his kid off at daycare, shops for his mom’s party, pleads for his grocery store job back, debates selling marijuana to help his sister pay her rent, and so on.”
The film won both the Grand Jury and Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the Sundance Festival, along with winning Prix de l’Avenir d’Un Certain Regard at Cannes.
Southside With You is showing now at the Grand Cinema.
Daughters of the Dust will screen at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, September 2 in the Center for Spiritual Living (206 N. J St).
Fruitvale Station will screen at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, September 9 in the CSL.
The TFC Discussion Night for these three films is Wednesday, September 14 in the CSL.