Madres is a bit of an enigma as a film. Billed as a horror movie about a Mexican American couple in 1970 who move to California for better opportunities as the due date for their first born approaches, the film takes inspiration from a very real historical tragedy. In the years post WWII, California farm workers were subjected to hazardous working conditions which poisoned them with the deadly pesticides that were being sprayed over the crops. Madres aims to bring awareness to a forgotten disaster and Ariana Guerra wanted to make sure she was apart of this important story when she accepted the role of the film’s protagonist, Diana.
Every single time there is a “best of” list of comics and graphic novels, it’s almost inevitable that most of these lists are going to look a little similar. You’re going to see Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns on there, Moore and Gibbons Watchmen; (very deserving of a spot in the top 20) Grant Morrison and Dave McKean’s Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. In writing this, I reviewed fifteen lists and this plays out, with some new additions like Robert Kirkman’s Invincible and Brian K. Vaughan’s Ex Machina; and the more seemingly odder choices like, say, Brian Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. And at some point, we’re going to have to talk about why there are so many damn men dominating these lists.
There is no question the work of writer and activist James Baldwin is timeless and timely because no matter how long ago he wrote his books, essays, and social commentary, his words are always right on time. Barry Jenkins’ new film If Beale Street Could Talk is an adaptation of the novel of the same name that works to capture the essence of Baldwin’s message of love, poverty and a broken justice system.
The film stars Kiki Layne and Stephan James as Tish and Fonny, young lovers from Harlem in the 1960s. When Fonny is accused on a crime he didn’t commit, and Tish discovers she is pregnant, her family rallies together to prove Fonny’s innocence.
With the film releasing in select theaters in New York and LA, The Nerds of Color are just in time with interviews. I enjoyed talking with the charming young actress Kiki Layne about love, family, and working with legendary actress Regina King.
Barry Jenkins’ new film If Beale Street Could Talk is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by James Baldwin. When writing the book, I’m sure Baldwin never thought his works would be translated on screen. A conversation can also be had on whether or not James Baldwin ever thought his work would be as poignant today as it was 44 years ago. The justice system is still screwed, Black folks are still in poverty in America, but hopefully the public’s view of ‘Black love’ will change upon viewing this film.
New York City isn’t the diverse utopia many think it is. If there is any system that shows just how broken things are, it is the city’s police force where “protect and serve” is on a circumstantial based on the color of your skin. This is among the many themes in James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk, which is in good hands with director Barry Jenkins.