Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Comeback Couple & Blame Games: Why Y&R's Hevon Still Matters

Will Devon (Bryton E. James) and Hilary (Mishael Morgan) reunite?
The golden brown couple may finally be back to skipping on Genoa City's yellow brick lover's road.

Last Thursday's Young and the Restless episode offered a wondrous peek at a much needed "Hevon" reunion. To see Devon smiling at Hilary again was a coveted treasure, the rosy satin ribbons torn off with greedy relish, the unexpected gift a welcome sight to behold. With forced pairings endured between Hilary and a bad version of Malcolm Winters and Devon and his red haired gold digger, I had almost forgotten what Devon and Hilary looked like together-- when truly happy and falling back into sweet friendship that blossomed into utterly romantic everlasting love.

Hilary arrives at the athletic club fresh from working out, looking quite stunning. Devon couldn't take his eyes off his beautiful ex-wife. Their light, affable banter resembled old time goodness.

Later, they continue having friendly chat over iced waters. It was a few minutes of bliss: the way they stared at each other, smiled, grinned, with Hilary doing the hand reach. Bryton and Mishael played each beat skillfully, making us hunger for any little tidbit of revealed emotion. They delivered tantalizing morsels, feeding our craving, our unsated hearts needing more and more. In fact, I'm still clutching my chest from weeks ago. Hilary had boldly gazed at Devon dead in his eyes, barely blinking, stating without hesitance, "would your girlfriend like the way you're staring at me right now?" Devon outright blushed and spoke no further. That scene in combination with latest developments prove that Hevon is rising like a phoenix out of dust.

Exhibit A: Devon watches Hilary drink her glass of water. Oh how his eyes are looking at her and she at him over her rim.

Exhibit B: Hilary observes Devon emulating her earlier action-- gulp, gulp, gulp. But is he really thirsty for water?
Circumstances have been bumpy for our daytime television dynamic duo. They were on the cusp of supercouple status after an almost gorgeous wedding (a selfish good-for-nothing interloper had to crash the nuptials) and steamy honeymoon last summer. Tragedy struck and the audience grieved a missing Hilary alongside Devon, searching frantically for his love. Of course, it turned out our heroine fell off the mountain (thanks to a jealous stalker) and was recuperating at the house he bought for her. Obviously that particular house had more than fried his brain, but that's another tale for another rant. She came to, brand spanking new, and forgetting all about falling in love with Devon. It was a very difficult time to watch. We lost several sweet Hevon cyber friends over this too. Once Hilary (and eventually Devon) forgave Jeeper Creeper, it felt like a point of no return. Still, Hevon were blissfully back together, deeper in love, in a place of their own, melting our televisions a few times a week. It was wonderful, tainted, but wonderful.

Months later, after a nonsensical divorce under a foolish writing regime, Hilary and Devon crashed immediately into other relationships. The signatures weren't even dry before Hilary succumbed to mediocre seduction by a weak, watered down photographer who couldn't even hold the base for the candle to the pure dynamism Malcolm brought. Now he is not the point. Neither is Devon's settlement. The important pairing, the true love epic is Devon and Hilary. They are the missing part of each other's lives. It has been quite interesting seeing Hilary interact with other characters like Victor and Nick Newman, forming a bond with Chelsea, and others. The audience has long since criticized that the black figures don't engage outside of their circle. That brings us to Devon, who though is dating an important family member (Newman?), he seems to be stuck with his very evil adoptive dad or Lily, his high horse sister.

This short cute scene watered soil on our hopeful hearts.
Hevon fans have been used to being blamed ever since the beginning. Truth remains, Hilary only loved one man and took her gratitude way too far. Yes, Hilary and Devon had an affair. It lasted for months. Still, people continue ragging on them, refusing to let this old story die. Currently, Devon's replacement is falling hard for another woman! Instead of cheering the chemistry and celebrating Y&R's descent into 21st century, people are upset and calling out the Hevon base, holding them responsible for this poor woman's newfound lesbianism. It is quite a ridiculous call, especially when several popular soap opera accounts chime in, spilling the same trite. Despite campaigns, presents, letters, and wishes, the fans are not responsible for the writers' decisions. We might have impact from time to time, but in the end, the writers' have a vision set forth in stone. Thus, soap fans, who are starting to sound like grating bigots, need to pin their frustrations elsewhere. Don't pick on a fanbase that has yet to receive a story outside of insipid interferences.

I will state this for the umpteenth time-- soap opera writers need to stop believing that formulaic triangles/quadrangles are the best ways to keep a couple interesting. Nope.

In happier times, Devon and Hilary spent wedded bliss in a shared penthouse (aka a real home) after months of staying at the GCAC. Things seemed so peachy (and chocolaty) back then.
Although those Thursday scenes were sincere and thoughtful, a step towards a positive direction, Hilary and Devon are stubbornly focused on extra unnecessary partnerships. This week, Hilary discloses that she still wants a good for nothing man who already has a place at Lily's dinner table. He dumped her twice. Why on earth would she want to be with him again? He is beneath the ground her stilettos walk on! On the other hand, Devon has inherited blindness with his billions, not seeing the obvious connection between the last thing on his mind and her cozy new friend. I feel bad for him just a little bit. After all, he had a weird character shift, badmouthing Hilary and allowing her clothes to be worn, downright humiliating her, but I like to pretend that he wasn't in his right mind. He wasn't.

For now, it's annoying and detestable filler, but someday soon these two will realize that these dull, time wasting pursuits are nothing like the magical splendor they have together.

There were many better ways of handling Devon's accident/memory loss,. The writers chose the route of ending this great couple and pull them into immediate other relationships instead of dealing with their problems. 
Hilary and Devon are an important pairing. They represent this passionate, unique, awe-inspiring love that we attest to. They're dreamy, romantic, best friends, sweethearts. They have had the potential to be greater than what the writers sparingly offer. They deserve more than what they have been granted.

I love Hevon. So many people love Hevon. We root for Hevon. Until they get back together, no other couple takes their shine.  

Devon's swoon worthy smile speaks volumes.
Only time will tell what happens. The new writing regime is just getting started. Tomorrow, Hilary supposedly spins into Devon's orbit again. Fall sweeps promises that their undeniable bond smothers the Genoa City landscape. Let's pray hard for friendly fires to keep sparking, steadily grow into something once more, that special blaze that these happy people were blushingly discussing last week. This slow, tentative burn is surely going to scorch the small screens all over again.

And frankly I cannot wait.  


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

'Love Jones,' 20 Years, 5 Months Later, A Motion Still Tumbled in Earth

Love Jones DVD cover.
“This here, right now, at this very moment is all that matters to me. I love you and that’s urgent like a mother….”
How can a sis not swoon over grandiose words spoken by teenage crush, Larenz Tate, playing this beatnik brother poet, Darius Lovehall? Trust and believe that is the hardest notion of all, fighting against problematic perceptions of the young black Chicagoan male. Darius is intelligent, eclectic, and charming, the laidback, ear pierced black man whose tiny apartment makes room for an impressive library, listens to the rustic scratchy sounds vintage records make, and understands distinct difference between sadness and melancholy.

Twenty years ago, I wasn’t quite old enough to see Love Jones in theaters, but saw it much, much later. Recently, I rewatched the Sundance Film Festival Audience Prize Winner, hooked to the sweetness of black artists falling in love with each other and their respective practices.

Nina (Nia Long) and Darius (Larenz Tate) giving each other the Kool-Aid smile.
The queen bee eating up spoonfuls of Darius's freestyle scat is gorgeous, talented, fiercely ambitious Nina Mosley. With her crop top blouses (including that amazing outfit at the end), high-waisted denim jeans, and dark lipstick, she defined fashion. An up and coming photographer whose vignette portraits have a Gordon Parks meets James Van Der Vee in the 90s kind of vibe, Nina uses vintage cameras, taking her passion onto the streets, capturing mostly people in love. Big shot magazine editors don't like her style. A man calls her "unpolished" without really defining his criticism. This rejection adds stress to a woman who left her selfish fiance.

Darius and Nina first meet at The Sanctuary, a hip underground nightclub for bohemian sisters and brothers who collectively snap their fingers to open mic visionaries. Darius is part of a black bohemian posse of knowledgeable sophisticates-- Afrocentric vibing Sheila, humble married Savon, cool Eddie, and player Hollywood. The sparks fly immediately, even after a minor fumble at the bar, but Darius walks up to the mic and spills out a raw, sexy poem, Brother to the Night, (A Blues For Nina). Nina's embarrassment is genuine. She doesn't like its sexual components, but she is a tiny bit flattered, putting on a sisterly blush. They meet again and stubborn Darius continues to woe her with sweet, explicit music and dance.

I love that after Nina recites Sonia Sanchez's poetry, Darius believes that Nina will come up with words of her own. He knows it. As well as he knows she is skilled with the camera, he knows that she has other skills up her sleeve, that she too is a poet at heart.

Now growing up, in regards to film watching, I had been mostly exposed to white romances-- white people falling in love, white faces kissing, white bodies thrusting together, the whole nine yards. Hell, my entire middle school sex education was an instructive white people "doing it" cartoon. To see Darius and Nina becoming deeper than two passing strangers: dancing at a reggae spot, passionately making out at her doorstep, dissolving into full fledged intimacy in a beautifully compiled erotic montage. This epic thing of wonder charged with poetic moments of clarity utterly shook and dismantled my whitewashed education. I thought, damn, is this what Hollywood is afraid of? That black people can be fully realized, three dimensional beings that can love the living life out of each other? That they can be hot, sexy, and set the screen on fire without stereotypical exaggeration?

Nina (Nia Long) working with the professional camera.
Darius and Nina have their ups and downs. At the same time, so does the married Savon. Trust is the enemy. Everybody makes mistakes and smashes that needed relationship essential. I understand that Nina wanted to see if she would miss something with Marvin, but his ill-fitting childish behavior obviously wasn't ever going to change. Plus, he would have smothered Nina's independence. Meanwhile, Darius finds Lisa, a new squeeze to warm his bed, but she incites no spark of inspiration. Nina returns to Chicago and is immediately broken-hearted over seeing Darius and Lisa. She turns to Hollywood (eerily similar to Marvin) for affection and fair play turnabout. Savon is lonely after his wife leaves with their son, bringing questionable companions to the posse get togethers. He has a valid outlook on love and relationships, ultimately stating that it's the staying in love that is the most challenging hardship. It's tough seeing his struggle in the marriage. Troubles do not end after "I do." And that's real.

Josie (Lisa Nicole Carson) and Nina (Nia Long).

Ava DuVernay said, “I think that women definitely have a special bond as friends that is hard to describe to men, and we don't often see that portrayed narratively."

That is sort of expressed greatly here. With their amazing girlfriend chemistry, Nina and Josie's onscreen conversations mostly revolve around men and their relationships with them. Apparently, Josie has an active sex life, but her purpose (in this film) is to live vicariously through Nina. However, the taxi cab scene is hilariously memorable, a real game changer in how women discuss male anatomy. When Nina explains that Darius speaks to her down there, it was so much more hysterical than any fake deli orgasm. This was straight fire. Though the male taxi driver overhears and is thoroughly amused, carnal sharing is for the benefit of sisterhood spillage, not for him.

Still, it is a huge missed opportunity to not have the girls celebrating Nina scoring a break (after months of being dismissed) with Vibe Magazine. Would have loved to see these women toasting to that milestone. I appreciated her phone call to Darius and the crushing train scene afterward, but I needed a Nina/Josie girl party. Plus, what the heck did Josie do for a living anyway? She wasn't exactly fleshed out. Also, it is such wasted potential that none of the fine brothers of the posse wanted to engage with her. For example, Hollywood has always wanted Nina-- friend's girl or not. Eddie is a closed book, great deep voice, the host of the soirées, but without a partner. He and Josie would have hit it off if the chance had been granted. 

On the other hand, Sheila is an amazing, sensational independent woman. She works at Last of the Old Time Record Stores with giant posters of Janet Jackson's Design of a Decade, Eric Clapton's From the Cradle, and funky posters on the front door. She spoke her mind and put characters like Hollywood and Savon in their place if they stepped off. Her side eye expressions put everyone on notice.

Darius and Nina looking like a "One in a Million" couple on the motorcycle.
The film is put together brilliantly, each piece playing its part to utmost perfection-- the acting, the script, the cinematography, the music. From Lauryn Hill’s guitar strumming serenade “The Sweetest Thing” to spoken word sensuality of Meshell Ndegeocello and Mark Miller’s “Rush Over,” the music selection is ridiculously slick, keeping interest flowing from Darius's sexy ode to Nina to Nina's "virgin" popping at Darius in front of the mic. The in between is a lacy groove set of Maxwell, Cassandra Jones, and Duke Ellington designed to never let the mood shift out of a lover's mindset.
Earlier this year, Love Jones received the ABFF (African Black Film Festival) honor for being the Ultimate Black Love Classic.  Omari Hardwick introduced the sweet award to the cast: Bernadette Clarke (Sheila), Theodore WItcher (writer/director), Lisa Nicole Carson (Josie), Larenz Tate (Darius), Leonard Roberts (Eddie), Nia Long (Nina), and Isaiah Washington (Savon).  Bill Bellamy (Hollywood) wasn't present, but they shouted him out. 
Nominated for three Image Awards and four Acapulco Film Festival Awards (winning for Best soundtrack), Love Jones was way above the time of its 1997 release date. Cumulative box office total says nothing about the kind of impact this film made on so many people. The story of Darius and Nina and their surrounding friends stands on the paramount of black romance, standing atop a pedestal so grand that few others can topple its worthy place in nostalgia.

Darius and Nina reuniting in the pouring Chicago rain! 
The Love Jones ending is a special kind of gold that all sisters appreciate. When a grown woman runs out in the pouring rain, risking the world (yes, getting a nice straight press/relaxer wet), that is a sign of true dedication, a willingness to sacrifice everything in the name of love.


Monday, August 28, 2017

'American Koko' Is Pro Black Pleasure That is Not Guilty

American Koko is available on ABC Go Digital
A brave web series (with co-producer Viola Davis conducting impressive voice over duties) has been delivered to us. Are we worthy of its juicy contents?

I loved every minute of binging on satirical, candid, and edgy American Koko. Led by dynamic Akosua Millard codenamed Koko, Los Angeles based Everyone is a Little Racist (E.A.R.) Agency has a small diverse staff looking to combat the race problem. Akosua is the former client turned imperfect ringleader, optimistic Lucky brings heart, genius Baldwin offers intellect and a sophisticatedly crafted "racist" machine meter, and Miles, often using black colloquialism, displays common sense in midst of his inherited white privilege.

In the opening, a sleekly dressed Akosua in powder blue trench coat and brown ankle boots, races to a parked car, carrying a large black purse. She gets inside and explains to an Asian mother that her adopted black daughter has 4C hair. That black purse contains conditioners, shampoos, a detangle comb and more-- all organic. Yes, this downright hilarious scene shares the scope of "crimes" that the struggling, nearly financially bereft E.A.R. Agency takes on.

Their first season main case involves Mr. Wallace, a white high school drama teacher. He has written a musical based on the life of Harriet Tubman. He has only one black student in his class, a testy Anita Benita, but it’s the Latino girl who has the perfect voice. Koko believes, that no matter how bad the singing, the girl has every right to play Harriet. After all, she is a real-life historical figure. Some of the gang disagree, which of course, is a freaking atrocity in the making.
Meet the E.A.R. Agents: Baldwin Bledsoe (Cedric Sanders), Lucky Ling (Elaine Kao), Akosua "Koko" Millard (Diarra Kilpatrick), and Miles Gold (Miles Orion Feldsott).

“She wore a headwrap," shoots Anita, "like she was going to bed—all the time."

That perception hits home.

My friends and I wear headscarves often. It unnerves people, especially fellow black Americans. A co-worker continuously stated that I looked like a runaway slave. I told her to stop, but the utterance continued coming out snarling, like a snapping dog refusing to keep its ferocious jaws shut. Vile criticism is a manifested mental conditioning that makes us feel ashamed of country history, allowing that shame, which shouldn’t be ours to bear, to seep into our consciousness, our moral fibers, our definition of beauty. It doesn’t matter if the headscarf has fascinating colors or rich patterns, it still symbolizes ugliness.

Generations are growing up like Anita, wanting to be more than the slave, failing to realize that Tubman is not only beautiful, but important to remember for her brave heroism. The agency made it a priority to get her to understand.

After the play, which was well done, the mom’s mouthed “thank you” made first season grand.
Mr. Wonderful (Nyambi Nyambi) is not so wonderful after all. 
Akosua’s hot and steamy relationship with Mr. Wonderful, had her heavily equating him to be the John (or Nelson Davis) to her Harriet. She is obsessed with all things African—her apartment is an homage to art, pattern, design, the works. She wears bold scarves and dresses and drops quotes from Love Jones. In complete opposition, private schooled Mr. Wonderful dated white women, doesn't know much black history/popular culture, and frequently says “awesome” (Akosua’s most hated word). In fact, one of their earlier mishaps is when Akosua suggests a Saturday night documentary on Jack Johnson. Mr. Wonderful believes it is on Jack Johnson the musician and Akosua means the boxing legend inspiration to Muhammed Ali and Joe Frasier. Like Akosua’s ardor for diaspora, she grasps hard at this relationship, wanting it to be epitome of black power romance. The tough sell is an overzealous clutch with red flags. Despite growing up in the same country, they operate on completely opposing spectrums.

Mr. Wonderful, who isn't even with Akosua because he wants her, ends his diabolical breakup rant to Akosua with, "you're not African!"

Ah, but she is. We all are descendants of Africa. Diluted with American culture yes, but in our DNA in our physical inheritances, in our souls, in our "residual trauma,"  exists an undeniable truth.

She may have grown up in Detroit, but Mr. Wonderful doesn’t understand Akosua. Maybe he wants her to be more like his previous white girlfriends. Akosua wants him to be proud of his black heritage. She mentally pairs the relationship end to that of Delonte West’s death, the lynching of the past equating to bullets of the present.

Tamika (Zainob Johnson), Grace (Simone Missick aka Misty Knight from Luke Cage and The Defenders), and Koko (Diarra Kilpatrick).
In season two, the gang's latest case--representing West's murderer John Williamson-- is a real doozy. Even though I rooted and hollered for Akosua smashing the living daylights out of Williamson's car, her anger spiraled out of control and created a bad look for the agency. Sadly, they need the evil blood money despite killing moral ethics of what they represent. Also, Akosua is not "cured and must return to “Angry Black Women” support group therapy to calm down compulsive rage. These beautiful black sisters are directed by properly named Grace, a spirited leader who urges the women to soothe and release their inner frustrations to other kinds of frenzied passion.

Enter Kwam. He is the writer of the famous Angry Asian Blog. Akosua meets him at a horrible poetry gathering and the two exchange awkward flirtation in front of the occupied restroom. They go on dates including reenacting Risky Business (complete with Akosua wearing the Tom Cruise white shirt), but Akosua is hiding a huge secret from him. Her real fear of destroying this new, refreshing relationship is understandable. At the same time, they both respect each other's work, especially in regards to combating racism and race myths. She is desperate to expose the murderer as racist. At the same time, Kwam believing that she is a fraud, is on a path of destroying and discrediting her.....

What a cliffhanger, right?

Still, interesting that an Angry Asian can be considered laudable and worthy of respect while "Angry Black Woman" is thought to be an ugly, demeaning stereotype that we have to let go of. Black women aren't allowed to be upset no matter the situation.

Diarra Kilpatrick with American Koko producers Viola Davis and Julius Tennon.
Thanks to the utterly captivating performance by show creator Diarra Kilpatrick, Akosua's savvy, unfiltered, bold character is believable, a statement for the black woman who ever feels intimidated, out of place. Akosua doesn’t censor herself for no audience. In cowrie shelled Havana twists, sleek outfits that highlight cocoa butter smooth skin, and “take no mess” attitude, she is the essence of cool. She doesn’t mute herself around her colleagues or white best friend.

American Koko isn't only ridiculing society with characters unknowingly walking around dead black bodies lying on street corners and bathroom stalls. This is a grueling representation of where we are right now.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Black Women Filmmakers of the 1970's And Where They Are Now

Barbara O (who played the wonderful Yellow Mary in Daughters of the Dust) is the title woman living simply above mountaintops.
Lightbox Film Center shared six pieces from four black women writer/directors. Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust), Alile Sharon Larkin, Fronza Woods, and the late Jacqueline Shearer (Eyes on the Prize) were granted rare showing, some 16mm films seen for the first time in years. These profoundly significant works made it important to know who these four women pioneers were, why they mattered, and where they are now. Unfortunately, they have paltry IMDb biographies. The information is further scarce on Woods and Shearer. No good quality photographs of them exist on the internet.

The black nun writes profusely.
Diary of an African Nun, a black and white picture, eloquently rendered a great Alice Walker short story. Pious Ugandan nun is indebted to her white sisters, the ones who inspired quiet marital bliss. She is comforted by cold showers, picturesque window views, and writing daily prose. The narrative, however, grows darker as she reveals pangs of being an "exotic stranger," a fascinating relic to travelers who question her nunnery decision. Among dangling rosary beads and hinged cross, she writes and speaks with soft tenderness, a vision of black woman innocence draped in demure black and white cloth. Suddenly, an escape from a Gothic religious horror, the camera pans creepily onto that hanging cross, zooming onto white savior version of Jesus, the tormented angles of his body, the sorrowful downcast eyes, the nails in his feet. As the black nun narrates, the music is stilted, passionate as the fire of her voice, articulating her agency, the push and pull of freedom and caged bird.

Linda Martina Young embodies Nina Simone's Aunt Sarah, Saffronia, Sweet Thing, and Peaches in Dash's Four Women (1977).
Four Women uses hauntingly raw albeit controversial Nina Simone ballad. Linda Martina Young, a light skinned dancer, plays all four characters. While Saffronia is yellow and Sweet Thing is tan, Aunt Sarah and Peaches are black and brown respectively. The solitary dancer moved to piano keys trembling underneath inherited pain following struggles of black women archetypes/colorism. In each segment, she changes clothes, hats, and hairstyles, signifying time periods. As sophisticated the choreography and luscious the cinematography, it couldn't escape problematic flaws of using this one sole body to portray what Nina specifically conveys.

While What Happened, Nina Simone?, directed by Liz Garbous, a white woman was heavily praised, Cynthia Mort's Nina was a fabricated, grossly ingenuous mess featuring Zoe Saldana in black face. Everyone wrote about the disgrace including Nina's daughter Simone and MacArthur Fellow Ta-Neshi Coates. Now Adepero Oduye (inspired by Coates' essay) and Gabourey Sidibe have joined in the fray. In her second directed short, To Be Free, Oduye plays Nina. Sidibe's version of Four Women, called The Tale of Four, stars Ledisi as Aunt Sara, Meagan Kimberly Smith as Saffronia, Dana Gourrier as Sweet Thing, and Aisha Hinds as Peaches. Playwright Christina Ham takes the song to heightened degrees. She plays Peaches, who meets the other three at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

Moreover, though Dash's Four Woman presents a stunning visual, but it falls flat in terms of the meaning behind this powerful song.

Out of the four black women filmmakers, New York City born Julie Dash has the most concrete biography. She is present in social media, including an active Twitter account. With Daughters of the Dust, released in 1991, Dash is the first African American woman to have a film released in the United States- a little late than never. A member of the L.A. Rebellion, during her years at UCLA, she joined other filmmakers such as Haile Gerima, Zeinabu irene Davis, and Barbara McCullough for the right to show and make black centric films. She directed music videos for Tracy Chapman, Tony! Toni! Tone!, and Adriana Evans. She has been nominated for many awards including the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize and a Directors Guild Award for Outstanding Directional Achievement for Primetime Movies Made for Television-- another black woman first. Her films have won NAACP and Black Reel Awards. Daughters of the Dust has been restored, remastered, and rereleased, earning a well-earned place in the Library of Congress.

Still keeping busy, Dash is currently working on Traveling Notes for a Geechee Girl and directed Queen Sugar's ninth episode of season two (coming up in October).

Despite what IMDb and Google would have a researcher believe, Angela Burnett, who played intelligent Ruby in Sharon Larkin's Your Children Come Back to You (1979), is niece of renowned L.A. Rebellion filmmaker Charles Burnett and costume designer Gaye Shannon-Burnett- not their daughter.
Your Children Come Back to You strongly nailed everything that is still wrong with American society. The little girl protagonist embodied overused adjective "woke." In a poverty stricken ghetto rife with trash and struggle, lives a single pregnant mom raising this feisty precocious child. She is frank, way above her years. Her wild imagination places Africa with positive symbolism, implanted by her father who left his young family for Africa. A wealthy married sister is obsessed with adopting her brother's niece, believing that welfare is an improper place to raise a child.

"Are you adopted, Auntie?"

The little girl recites an allegorically layered story to her spoiled, disillusioned aunt, that specifically addresses this question asked three times. It goes (paraphrasing): once upon a time there was a Mother (Africa) whose children were stolen from her (ala slavery). She wept and wept, grieving each loss. The thieves instilled their way of thinking (colonialism) into the children. Whilst forcing them to work hard, they gave them new names, new religions, new languages. Eventually, however, some of the children (adults) come back to her (Africa), one by one, remembering the gift of life (ancestral heritage) that she gave them.

The outraged aunt immediately wanted her niece away from this school too, glaringly revealing her self-hatred, ignorance. Now in America, it is easy to manipulate children, to persuade them into buying fictional accounts-- "Christopher Columbus was great," "treasure our founding fathers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson," and so forth. Conditioned individuals, like the aunt, believe everything they were ever told and strive to live as closely to white people as possible. With fancy house containing polished silver and glass, the little girl knew that her aunt allowed herself to be adapted, to allow being rich in materialism to outweigh hereditary affluence.   

Your Children Come Back to You is an exceptional piece that sound be shown widely. It has a terrific message, asking the audience, who do you want to be-- the aunt, the mother, or the child?

In addition to winning film awards from the Black American Cinema Society, Black Filmmaker Foundation, and runner up prize from FILMEX, Chicago hailed Alile Sharon Larkin is an author, artist, and award winning educator, having taught early education to college. Dreadlocks and the Three Bears Productions, her production company, "creates Afrocentric and global multimedia and arts experiences for children and families." She continued making more shorts including The Kitchen, A Different Image, and a children's animated film, Dreadlocks and the Three Bears.

A still from Fannie's Film (1979).
In Killing Time, a satirical soliloquy, a brown actress contemplates suicide. When the film opens, she appears already gone, lying on her bed, eyes closed, body still, phone off the hook. A second flashes, she is up like a charged battery, sweeping through a chain of motion, trying on different clothes, flopping back and forth on wanna be deathbed. She plans this death like a stage set, wanting it to be theatrically creative. Her hilarious inner monologue is sarcastic deadpan, a drone pitch of someone defeated, purposeless. There is no explanation to her misery. Suicide is a strange road to take humor on, but between burning undergarments in the oven, deciding an exacto blade is too messy, and ripping crisp white pants ruins a jump off the fire escape, Woods does so with morbidly fascinating delivery.

Frannie's Film, lighthearted and sweet, centers on a charming elder cleaning woman who absolutely loves her role at an all white gym. Fannie is not the average well-to-do black custodian. She talks about her upbringing with glee as the camera focuses in and out on her wiping down a mirror, giving her visibility and invisibility at once. In the same breath, she can be candid about simplicity of marriage. Her independence is a source of pleasure, where she has everything she needs, and is fulfilled, rustic voice singing "Amazing Grace."

Fronza Woods, according to Women Make Movies, is "a Detroiter turned Manhattanite." In addition to her only two short films (a huge, crushing loss), she worked as an assistant sound engineer on The Brother From Another Planet (which stars Emmy winner Joe Morton) and taught as an Associate Professor of Film at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

She lives in France and has co-translated several books on aesthetics with Simon Pleasance.

This tiny cap of Jackie Shearer's A Minor Altercation (1977) seems to be only proof the short film existed.
Brilliant A Minor Altercation is the longest at half an hour long. In a girl's bathroom at a Boston high school, a white girl, angry that she didn't get into a computer class, instigates a melee with a black student, who the counselor coerced into taking the class. They are both suspended for fighting. Furthermore, the larger complex issue is how both families discuss the matter in their respective homes. The women operate on soothing levels, wanting their daughters to stay at the school, but the fathers want opposite, the angry white father going as far as using the "n" word to state a racist point.

Both mothers decide to head up to the school, three days before they're supposed to, in order to discuss the matter-- primarily a concern of the guidance counselor. Of course the guidance counselor is not present. The early arriving black mother is faced with atrocious disrespect whereas the later white mother is cooed and prodded, even allowed to go into the principal's office first.

A Minor Altercation  is another that should be shown in classrooms. The discussion about how families discuss race/racial problems operates on different wavelengths.

Boston native Jackie Shearer was a graduate of Brandeis University. She also founded a documentary company and worked for her hometown radio and TV stations. As a documentarian, Shearer wrote and directed episodes of Eyes on the Prize and produced/directed American Experience's episode, Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry.

On IMDb, rests this sole personal statement in her barren biography:
Much to my own relief, I found that there was nothing for me to be ashamed of in the story of Blacks and their participation in the Civil War. Black soldiers hadn't been the unwitting dupes I had once imagined them to be. It was these men who were the bedrock of abolitionism, not well-intentioned, benevolent whites as history has claimed.
Shearer sadly passed away at the age of 46 of colon cancer four days before her birthday.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Happy Birthday Ava DuVernay: Fem Film Rogue Icon Spotlight

It is very easy to gush about this amazing queen, a Time 100 honoree that frequents The Root 100.
Ava DuVernay is our modern day heroine. She is the slayer of outdated, crusty old white dragons in Hollywood and politics, blasting away stereotypical perceptions of black humanity with fiery heartfelt poise. This commendable award winning champion produces and directs films that show vastness of our beautiful black diaspora, scoping beneath chained pigeonholes. Her oeuvre is an incredulous stretch between documentary and narrative realms, letting blackness breathe usually oppressive breath into television and film screen, especially rewarding black women gifted narratives they deserve.

A double major (English and African American studies) at UCLA, DuVernay was first a public relations consultant for many film and television projects including Julie Dash's The Rosa Parks Story and Shola Lynch's Chisholm '72: Unbought and Unbossed. She directed her first IMDb credit short in 2006 called Saturday Night Life. Then she helm top notch documentaries: This is the Life, Compton in C Minor (a short), My Mic Sounds Nice: The Truth About Women in Hip Hop, and a Nine XI feature Venus VS. Last year, she released 13th, a powerful must see discussing true ramifications of the thirteenth amendment; which deceivingly appeared to be abolishment of slavery. A nasty clause, however, enforced imprisoning blacks in another way, a creative loophole that takes away their rights long after they're released. Yet most of the time, they'll never regain stolen freedom.

I will always remember her talk last year, how passionate she is about giving black women filmmakers the chance to show their work. In Hollywood, where light skin prevails so constantly, it's also amazing to see that DuVernay lets women like Emayatzy Corinealdi and Rutina Wesley shine brightly as leading protagonists. 

For dramatic narrative, she directed poignant I Will Follow, the riveting Selma, and an episode of Scandal. Middle of Nowhere, a top ten favorite, is about a hardworking nursing school student sacrificing her dreams for an imprisoned husband on parole all the while balancing work, organizing a good lawyer, a dysfunctional family situation, and finding  beautiful bus driver companionship. The camera directions are pure art form, playing with metaphoric abstraction. Bradford Young, a frequent cinematographer collaborator of hers, knows how light operates on black skin.

For other shorts, The Door is delightful, colorful, glamorous, and magical Miu Miu produced black woman fairytale without a knight in shining armor. This sisterly love piece has the best actresses under the sun: Gabrielle Union, Adepero Oduye, Alfre Woodward, and Emayatzy Corinealdi. Fashion Fair's Say Yes is sweet and delicious, like a lingering love note.

And last but certainly not least, Queen Sugar, an adaptation of Natalie Bazsile's novel, is the most powerful, under appreciated prose on television today. With a strong cast, gorgeous cinematography, solid writing, and treasured directing by solely women directors, this is a gem for history/herstory books.

DuVernay's films have been nominated for Oscars (13th and Selma). She is the first African American woman to win Sundance Film Festival Award for Best Directing for a Drama, the first African American woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Director of a Theatric Drama Film, the first African American woman to have a film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, and the first African American woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Directing of a Documentary Film. Other notable wins include a Humanitas Prize, BAFTA, NAACP Image Award, The John Cassavetes Award, AAFCA, Black Reel, and Woman In Film Circle Awards. She was invited to join the AMPAS writers and directors branches, the second African American woman director to join after Kasi Lemmons. Up next, she is nominated for three Emmys and will receive the Directing Prize at the Brittania Awards.


This gorgeous Ava DuVernay inspired Barbie doll sold out in minutes.
Currently, she has many upcoming projects to be enthusiastic about-- A Wrinkle in Time (2018) for Disney, a documentary on the Central Park Five (2019), and Lupita Nyong'o/Rihanna girlfriends film both for Netflix. Battle of Versailles will be an adaptation of Robin Givhan's book and an adaptation of Octavia Butler's Dawn with Victoria Mahoney for television.

In addition to writing, directing, and producing films and television, DuVernay founded ARRAY, formerly AFFRM, promoting people of color and women's voices. It is tough receiving film distribution, especially for first time directors. The mission is to offer them that chance. So far, they have released films from all over the globe including the terrific British thriller Honeytrap. As an ARRAY Rebel, which helps ARRAY immensely, perks include digital music and beanies. Every now and then, ARRAY hosts a fun Twitter party/campaign drive that allows fans to tweet questions to their favorite black filmmakers. Past guests to the usually trending all day event have included Julie Dash, Gina Prince-Blythewood, Ryan Coogler, and so many more.

So yes, Ava DuVernay is a true queen, a worthy icon to celebrate.

Before going "onward," here are a few of her most inspiring quotes:

I make films about black women and it doesn't mean that you can't see them as a black man, doesn't mean that he can't see them as a white man or she can't see them as a white woman.

We're told that independent film lovers... folks that are used to watching art house films, won't come out and see a film with black people in it - I've been told that in rooms, big rooms, studio rooms, and I know that's not true.

I didn't start out thinking that I could ever make films. I started out being a film lover, loving films, and wanting to have a job that put me close to them and close to filmmakers and close to film sets.



Sunday, August 20, 2017

'Ayiti Mon Amour' Shares Triumphant & Whimsical Tales in Haiti

Ayiti Mon Amour.

Back in 2010, on a January afternoon, Haiti was hit by a ferocious earthquake, killing thousands. Global relief efforts, meant to bring aide to devastated families, were stolen and squandered, leaving the very poor, destitute and hopeless. Filmmaker Guetty Felin created Broken Stones, a documentary about the terror and turmoil left behind, showcasing great devastation brought onto a country that lost many irreplaceable lives and homes. In Ayiti Mon Amour, Felin pens and directs an imaginative collection of poignant fables that offer healing and joy after the storm.

 Orphée (Joakim Cohen) and his mother (Pascale Faublas) have trouble adjusting to the neighborhood due to colorism. 
Set five years later, Orphée is a troubled young boy often fighting at school. However, that doesn't deter unique sensibility, the supernatural elements. He is fascinating, speaking between Japanese, French, and English, playing with his friendly black dog, always pensive, brooding. His mother is worried, rightly so, for he isolates himself from others, but looks at them with fierce longing. He is dreamy eyed and thoughtful, wandering through broken parts of Haiti, still grieving a father who had died in the earthquake.

Anisia Uzeyman (The Muse) is an inspiration for a troubled writer (James Noel). 
Originally tied down to a writer’s block afflicted writer, an energetic, cheery muse hollers like a wild banshee into his tormented mind. The stylish, slender beauty is bubbling with anticipation, almost rupturing to the surface. She demands him to give her tasks, let her live more than as a silent figure. The tired, frustrated man cannot think with petulant eagerness, natural inclination to roam beyond what is permissible, but stoically promises to present ideas despite ever present fatigued mood. Days pass by, he has no story for her. Unable to wait, she packs up her little suitcase, and leaves him. Her adventurous thirst is tasted as she explores areas of dilapidated buildings and broken spirits, rides boats floating in endless sea, and joins in a parade.

Jaurès the fisherman (Jaurès Andris) shares smiles and dances with his beautiful wife.
Jaurès is concerned about his wife in a poignant love story that entails not just surviving violent storms and , but coming to terms with growing old and finding ways to stay in love. One devout way is caring for the other when that person is ill. As this sweet fisherman feeds her, gently spooning bowls of soft mushiness into her reluctant mouth, she turns her head in between, not able to eat entire serving. She is listless, worn, despaired. Her illness is more than physical, emotional and mental anxiety exists within. He is committed to healing her and searches for remedy in his personal realm/haven.

Although the solitary writer doesn't interact, it is the muse who brings needed delight into Orphée's solitary darkness. She and Jaurès both offer him a reason to feel grateful.
An official 2016 TIFF selection and winner of Black Film Festival’s Best Narrative Feature, Guetty Felin’s Ayiti Mon Amour is the first Haitian film to be directed by a Haitian woman. That significant feat is an encouraging path to follow, especially to young girls hoping to capture homeland through their own eyes. A fiction with incredible heart and nostalgic wealth, Felin filmed specifically in a region affected by the earthquake, going into village areas, using locals as actors, knowing dates imperative to her written script. The sewing of the forgotten weaves well into the picture, each scene casts spells on audience, bedazzling with quixotic images frozen in a lingering time. It is also wonderful that Mira Nair (Queen of Katwe and Mississippi Masala) produced-- great to see women of color directors celebrating other women of color directors. This must continue onward.

Director/writer Guetty Felin with her real life son, Joakim Cohen.

Ayiti Mon Amour ends the way it begins. A single finger slowly traces uneven line of a crack, carefully following each jagged mark. This deliberate action seems to metaphorically describe lineage of life and death, the impossible circumstances impact future, bring unexpected change and growth. In these layered stories, a connection forms between characters, real or imagined, in a peaceful, integral sea as serene as mesmerizing blue waters captured in most breathtaking cinematography. Felin is reminding us of Haiti. Underneath memories of a colossal tragedy, of ashes and ghosts of the dead, births new images entailing magic and hope.

Haiti is not a graveyard. It is a real, majestic home unlike any place on earth.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Awkwardness & Hilarity About Sex in 'Hello Cupid'

Hello Cupid: Farrah takes a look at Farrah..
"Accurate!"

That single exclamation repeated itself throughout audience showing of Hello Cupid, a film from the studio behind Black and Sexy TV. Tina Cerin, Numa Perrier, and Dennis Dortch directed with Perrier, Cerin, and Thais Francis (Cassie) writing this humor laced story about a young black woman virgin, bravely embarking on sexual journey riddled with frankly honest complications.

The opening focuses on quirky, stylish Farrah dressed in a long black duster, tee, and jeans; a free spirited, bare faced skateboarder with a killer massive Afro and infectious gap toothed grin. Her innocence is refreshingly genuine, a rarely depicted characterization in black women portraiture. In most popular modern films, television, and books, black women automatically know the ins and outs of sexual intercourse without ever a mention of first time experience.

Before Farrah enters a queer mixer, she has the attention of Justin, another skilled black skateboarder. Originally, she intended to meet Cassie, a confident, assertive, dark skinned beauty whose smile borders between sticky sweet to falsely chipper.

Farrah (Gabrielle Maiden) was first seen in Sexless.
Hello Cupid is a like a rich contemporary reminiscence of Janie Crawford's path to sexuality in first acts of Their Eyes Were Watching God. With a comedic twist that is. Between her flustered blushing and inability to look pursuiters in the eyes, Farrah's bee sting is quite apparent, buzzing about her, attracting those around her, especially Justin and Cassie. Although Farrah is curious about which sexual destiny is best for her, she tests what each offers. Fascination mixed with hilarity and chaos ensues. Sometimes Farrah seems ready and other times, she allows herself to be coaxed. With overeager Cassie, Farrah is cautiously wary, but allows the gratification, succumbing to an alarmingly good, bathroom sink ride to orgasm ville. The aftermath, however, is awkward as hell-- Cassie acts strangely distant while Farrah is starry eyed enchanted. It's that sad Pariah scene again-- one is thrilled by the act and the other wants to bow out gracelessly. Yet the difference is that Cassie is out and proud, not shamefully hiding in the shadows clinging to misguided societal demands like Bina.

Still, Farrah is flashbacking to the heated moment of her "deflowering," changed provocatively, wearing makeup and little black dress to symbolize maturity. Out of fear of further rejection, she avoids Cassie, who appears interested again, and turns to Justin. They have a great date--skating, ice cream eating, the works. Unfortunately, the sex is awful. All degrees of clumsiness and fumbling occurs, which laughably crafted is the sordid truth. No one is a maestro overnight.

In comparison with introductive experience, obviously one is far more enjoyable than the other for Farrah.

Beautiful, talented Thais Francis, who co-wrote Hello Cupid: Farrah,
brought laughs and eyebrow raises as the strong willed Cassie. 
Hello Cupid's laudable highlight is that Farrah has a supportive She Circle. Her roommate is the first person she tells about her newfound sexual awakening and she is over the moon happy and supportive of her friend "finally getting some." Sex isn't always the most comfortable subject matter, often taking time to discuss openly. It was great that Farrah could confide in her female friends. Another amazing part featured a Farrah inspecting her lady parts in the bathtub and the real apprehension of acquiring an STD-- which more than likely was a result of Farrah's giant over exaggeration. The rivalry between Cassie and Justin was also very funny. One wondered if the scene of unseen stranger knocking on Cassie's door was in fact, a jealous Justin lusting for Farrah.

In the end, Farrah, having gained separate experiences, remains holding onto lost innocence, still believing that she carries the virgin status card. Perhaps she has room to grow in her sexual path and it looks like Cassie might be the way.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Happy Birthday Viola Davis: Fem Film Rogue Icon Spotlight

Don't call her the "Black Meryl Streep," Viola Davis (first African American actor to win triple crown of acting: Oscar, Emmy, and Tony) has definitely carved a stake in Hollywood on her own terms.
I first saw this incredibly gifted actress in John Patrick Stanley's Doubt. She had this huge, pivotal scene that stole the whole film from seasoned Meryl Streep and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. I was taken aback, shaken to the core. "Until June," this mother would willingly ignore heinous allegations that a priest was possibly making on her young son, testimony based on words by a nun. What?

Viola Davis's delivery was excellent-- aghast, stunned, complacent. Immediately, I looked up her imdb, desperate to watch whatever else she blessed. Her ability to convey a wide range of human emotion is a tremendous skill few can truly touch.

Mrs. Miller (Viola Davis) only had one scene of dialogue and Davis gave script one hundred percent gold.
On this day in 1965, Davis was born in St. Matthews, South Carolina, the fifth of six children. Her mother worked several jobs, was also a Civil Rights activist, going as far as being jailed with young Viola in tow. Overcoming great strife such as wretched hardship, Davis went on to succeed at Rhode Island College and Julliard.

Is it any wonder why she was chosen as Time 100's Most Influential? Viola hasn't only just crafted acting. She has given voice to black Hollywood's unhidden issues.  
Davis is a well-trained theater actress. No doubt. In film and television, her fierce tenacity translates beautifully onscreen. She has worked with some of the best actors and actresses in Hollywood, but brings her own dish to the table. Often at times, outshining her partner. In Fences, she brought it all (sorry Denzel).

How to Get Away With Murder functions from fall season opener, to winter breaker, to spring season finale due to Davis's weekly top notch acting class masterpieces. Davis breathes effortlessly into Annalise Keating. She cries, tears joining with nostril snot. She pulls off her hair pieces and wipes away makeup. Everyone feels her pain and struggle as though fourth wall has been cracked. We just want to offer her hugs and tissues. Annalise is also manipulative, seductive, fiery, smart, and courageous. At times, she can be selfish and selfless. She has significant relationships with men and women. Thanks to this wig popping, heart beat snatching role, Davis is still the first and only black woman to receive the Primetime Emmy for Best Leading Actress in a Drama Series. Weeks ago, she received her third consecutive nomination.





In addition to redefining history, her award win list is miles long. With vast theater expertise, she has won two coveted Drama Desk Awards (including one for two-time Pulitzer Prize winning Lynn Nottage's Intimate Apparel)  and two Tony Awards. She has five SAG Awards (first for a black actor). In addition to a Golden Globe and a BAFTA, our sis has three AAFCA Awards (African American Film Critics Association), four NAACP Image Awards, three Black Reel Awards, and a BET Award. And this year, she won her first Academy Award after two prior nominations.

Yet Davis shows no signs of stopping. She and her husband have a production company called JuVee Productions which have produced amazing films like Lila and Eve and Custody. They're working on a biography of Barbara Jordan. Plus the digital series American Koko is on its second season.

In Shondaland's hit How to Get Away With Murder, in criminal defense attorney Annalise Keating (Viola Davis), audiences see a powerful, multi-layered dark skinned black woman grace the screens for fifteen suspenseful episodes per season.
Another wonderful, motivating trait about Davis, next to her commendable acting ability and realm into producing black stories, is her advocacy for black women, especially dark skinned women still searching for a pedestal, a right to be deemed acceptable and sexy in this Europeanized society. She bravely includes this notion in almost every awards speech, the need to be seen, to be a desirable character. She talks bluntly about colorism, the paper bag test that will never die, sharing hopes that our stories will continue being complex and honest portrayal of African diaspora. The future deserves a champion like Davis. She eloquently speaks a truth that few dare to bring to light.    

Viola with her much ado Oscar. She is a Grammy win away from EGOT status and there's no doubt that she'll achieve that.

Whether playing an anti-hero or a flawed feminine icon, Davis is here to stay and help move us along.

Four Viola Davis quotes to live by:

"The one thing I feel is lacking in Hollywood today is an understanding of the beauty, the power, the sexuality, the uniqueness, the humor of being a regular Black woman." Essence, 2013

"Vanity destroys your work. That's the one thing you have to let go of as an actor. I don't care how sexy or beautiful any woman is. At the end of the day, she has to take her makeup off. At the end of the day, she's more than just pretty." The New York Times Magazine, 2014

"Every time I look at the [photo of myself as a] little girl, I always thought, Oh, that's a cute outfit.' But she was always hungry, she was always shy, she was always kind of in the background, but inside she had big dreams bursting. And the only thing I could think about is that saying, 'What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly.'" On receiving her Hollywood Walk of Fame Star, 2016

"You know, there's one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place and that's the graveyard. People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost. I became an artist—and thank God I did—because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life...." Oscar Speech, 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017

'Inamorata' Brilliantly Defines "The Other Woman"

Inamorata film poster.

           in·am·o·ra·ta
/iˌnaməˈrädə/

          noun

        a person's female lover

Inamorata made an impressive Philadelphia premiere at Blackstar Film Festival with degreeing touches of surrealistic voodoo bringing haunted vitality to A-lan Holt's supernatural filmmaking debut. The drama stars a rather ubitiquitous triangle, the three individuals irrevocably tangled in a web ignited by one man's treacherous deceit. Betrayal goes beyond cheating when a women's friendship is involved, but sordid messiness is handled with unique twists and turns.

Sabrina Karlsson filters through as a powerful woman who isn't necessarily scorned.

This lush, sensually crafted film opens with a full figured woman with long curly tendrils, endless freckles, and pillowy lips. She unveils cards from her tarot deck, possibly seeing the threads of her future misfortune. She is a devoted girlfriend, mother, yogi, and painter, shifting between these roles, diligent and strong. She articulates fierce words with alluring intelligence and humbleness, employs the screen with poignant camera panning every inch of her rarely depicted flesh.

Her man, however, has a whole other second life, going on dates, stealing bittersweet sentiments, having Kodak glory with another woman. His world is rocked when she says, "I love you." It is obvious, in that moment the confession escapes, that deep emotional connection wasn't rendered fully in him. He cannot reciprocate response. In a way, maybe he is still in love with main character. Yet in this new, seemingly uncomplicated side life, this non heart involving hustle, he finds a missing piece that should have been found in his existing relationship.

The tarot woman discovers the affair. She is crushed. He is guilty, more so frightened. After all, she has alarming power and strength that could potentially be detrimental to his path. Perhaps those reasons rendered him incapable of being faithful, showing his putrid weakness.

Furthermore, the other woman isn't a simpering damsel. She is fiery, dignified, smart. She isn't abstract. She is fully rendered, a near mirror of her yogi friend. This reveals that the man is attracted to a certain type of feminine personality, but it doesn't redeem his error. The other woman finds out (in a horribly contemporary way) that he has a situation and is rightfully peeved.

However, despite great wrongs inflicted upon them by the cake eating cad, both women love him and want to stay committed in a relationship.

The plot thickens like sticky sap goodness straight out of a viciously pumped maple tree. As the other woman instructs yoga, letting out a fired spark, moving and gyrating lithe form to suspenseful music sweeping out from background to foreground, the passionately swift action suddenly pains her back. The allegiance of her exercising sisters comfort her, but there is only one who can heal, the one she didn't mean to hurt.

Writer/director A-lan Holt photographed by Luscombe.

This leads to an amazingly visceral moment of intimacy, an unexpected reaction from one woman to the other.

Inamorata is a remarkable must see short film. Seductive without being overtly erotic, all elements meld beautifully. The cast trio of Sabrina Karlsson, Joel L. Daniels, and Natasha Mmonatau have a refreshing chemistry together-- raw, subdued, authentic. As the narrative is sophisticatedly complex in its layered counterparts, these three actors maneuver through uncharted storms, evoking multifaceted depth using voice and body language. The visuals are immensely beautiful shot artworks, cinematography astounding and breathtaking. Magic dances around rendered script, each scene sparkling with triumph and bravery. The music shifts between serene pleasure and haunting renaissance, playing sharp cords to the surprise tale unfolding.  

This eighteen-minute piece delivers significant, metaphorical messages with its sharp eyed camera direction a Hitchcock meets Butler in a dimly lit alley fashion. One hopes that writer/director A-lan Holt creates more dynamic works to add in her repertoire. Her vision is definitely needed.