On January 19, the ninth annual Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF), presented by TD Bank in collaboration with Global News, announced the official online program and events lineup running February 10-21, 2021. Created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, TBFF returned for an impactful ninth edition, which amplifies more black voices through a record number of 154 films from 25 countries and various special events.
In just over a month, Spike Lee’s masterful Do the Right Thing will be 31 years old. Me and a group of friends skipped out of our summer work program to see the film. We were budding Black and Brown cineastes who marveled at Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It and begged our caretakers and school counselors to help us apply to HBCUs after viewing School Daze (and A Different World) — well, those of us who could activate our dream machinery enough to believe we could escape the projects and could make it in university. It was the summer before our senior year and we all knew that in a year’s time, things would be different. Some of us would be off to the military. Some of us would go to either a four-year college or a junior college. Some of us would go directly into the workforce. And there was me. I had no idea what was waiting for me after high school. All I knew was that as soon as I graduated (if I graduated) I was running as far away and as fast as I could from my abusive mother. I didn’t care where. I just needed to get the hell out of that house. All this was bouncing around in my head as the lights dimmed. Continue reading “They Are Still Killing Radio Raheem”
History was made this morning when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled its list of honorees celebrating the films of 2018 and named Black Panther as one of the nominees for Best Picture. While plenty of comic book films have received nominations over the decades, no superhero film had ever been nominated for the most prestigious prize of the night. The Dark Knightcame closest in 2009 — winning a posthumous Best Supporting Actor award for Heath Ledger and prompting the Academy to expand its nomination list from five to ten the following year.
I watched Kevin Wilmott’s (co-writer of Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq) Destination: Planet Negro (D:PN) twice. The first time I viewed it, I sat for fifteen or twenty minutes after it was over. I had no idea WTF I saw. Was it 21st century minstrelsy? Was it heavy-handed social commentary? Could it have possibly been that ever elusive (and also commonly misidentified) true satire? If it was satire, what was it satirizing? Was it riffing on 1950s science fiction and paranoia film tropes? Inter and intra-racial animus? The Black church and back to Africa movements? I needed to watch it again.
It’s been a little over a day since I saw both versions of Oldboy — one by Spike Lee and one by Park Chan-wook — back to back. The more I reflect on the Spike Lee version, the worse and worse it gets in my head. So I’ll just barf out the major wrongs about this sad re-make and be done with it.
This write-up will be chock full of spoilers which will save you a lot of time and money. I’m also assuming that my readers have seen the original, Korean version of Oldboy. And if you’re keeping track at home, both versions (American and Korean) are based on the Japanese manga of the same name by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi.