Friday, May 13, 2011

What's a Chick Been Up To?

Well, obviously, I have been fiddling with a new look here on the blog.  Hope you like the new artwork.  I haven't quite been slacking off, but I haven't posted as frequently as I had intended over the last week and a half.  Life sort of gets in the way of blogging at times.  So here are some snippets of what I have seen to date.

At the 2011 Atlanta Film Festival

Well, the festival ended on May 7.  And last week, I saw two films at the festival that were pretty good.  First up was The First Grader which is based on the true story of an elderly Kenyan man, Murage, who decides he wants to learn how to read and enrolls in the local elementary school.  Parents and politicians are outraged that such a man, who has one foot out of the grave, is taking up resources meant for children.  But the teacher (played by the lovely Naomie Harris) and children grow to love this unusual student.  The story also places the Murages's situation in historical context with flashbacks of Murage as part of the Mau Mau, insurgent Kenyans who fought against British colonial rule.  The film also touches on the problems of modern day Kenya, including lingering tribal divisions and corrupt politicians.  The First Grader will be opening for theatrical release on May 20, 2011.

The last film I saw at the festival was Incendies, a French Canadian film which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film this past February.  I'm not exaggerating in the least when I say this movie blew my mind away. [And a part of me is really angry that I had to see this at a festival and knew nothing about it when the Oscars aired.  Whoever believes that Americans don't or won't see good movies with subtitles are full of it.]  This movie had the mother of all twists, so I won't give anything about that away.  In sum, the movie is about twin siblings who are charged through the will of their recently deceased mother, to find their father and brother who are in some unidentified Middle Eastern country.  Through the journey, the twins uncover not only their lost relative[s], they also learn a lot about their mother who was shaped by the war between Christians and Muslims in her homeland.  A very good explosive mystery.  See it however you can.

At the Multiplex

So I dutifully went to see Jumping the Broom during its opening weekend.  And by duty I mean duty as an African-American woman in support of films that depict black people beyond urban thug melodramas and cross-dressing comedies.  It wasn't Love Jones, but it was amiably ambitious in trying to portray multiple facets of romantic and familial relationships.  It might have been doing too much.  But I enjoyed the cast and the tongue in cheek jokes--what?! no Electric Slide at a black wedding?  A sweet diversion.

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