I am used to buying a DVD a week – any DVD for that matter – so long as I see some black people on the cover (my way of supporting independent black cinema). But, I am beginning to rethink the ritual.
Don’t get me wrong. I had to take a painful look at black cinema unbecoming. The ‘nothingness’ and the ‘lack of substance’ that pervade independent black cinema makes it difficult, if not impossible, to understand why some of these filmmakers cry foul for the lack of Hollywood support. Cos if I were Hollywood, and I had two f-cks, I still wouldn’t give one.
And I know this may be hurtful to a select few – the very few – whose work I have come to admire over the years. But watching independent black films nowadays, quite discouragingly, is like fetching water with a basket. You gather very little after so much effort! Now I wonder how they caught my eye – perhaps, when gas was 73 Cents a gallon.
I am saddened since the end of this weekly ritual spells a drought in my search for the jewels of black cinema, however few and far between. So, I’m most worried that I may yet relinquish that hope to chance upon the pins in the haystack.
I have never dug the ground for gold nor diamond, but boy, looking for a good black film these days is just as tedious and perhaps, just as muddy as galamsey. You have to ask yourself if it’s worth the shot!
The issue is not a popular one – we have become used to praising anything – and the solution, an illusion. There is a fine line between encouraging filmmakers with talent and asking the others to lay down their oars and beat the drum.
By the way, I saw Measure of Faith, 2011, directed by Jason Hewitt and written by Robert Irvin (Should’ve Put A Ring On It). My expectations were purely rooted in comedy and not much else. Even then I knew I couldn’t wet my appetite before the movie but I hoped like a child that something special would emerge from the adventure.
Your guess is as good as mine!
Faith Donahue seems to have the picture perfect life: a great job in the church (you never see her work), a handsome, successful husband (you never know what he does) and wonderful friends (one neighbor). But Faith’s world is about to unravel in ways she never imagined (the husband cheated and her broke brother returns to reconcile with her).
That’s it? Yes!
Just the great way to spend an estimated $250,000.00
I would usually disagree with many IMDB ratings of black movies but I wish I saw this one earlier. I wasn’t surprised with the putrid 1.0 rating from 12 users. Not at all.
Every filmmaker thinks their film is about something. And maybe they are right. Everyone’s got something to say, at least that’s what we are taught in high school and if you went to college, yearrh… there too! But folks, when Maya Angelou said you should write a book, she wasn’t talking to everybody.
So I desist from asking that question, ‘what is your film about?’ The question is more like, ‘what is your point?’ Is your point that someone cheated on someone? If your answer is ‘yes,’ you should perhaps never touch a screenplay in your life.
In sum, independent black cinema has become a place where everybody talks and only a few people really have ‘something’ to say. I believe it can change if we want stop and take a painful look at it. But, first we must stop kissing ass! Like giving best screenplay to I Will Follow – a script that has only been read by the screenwriter herself.
When I watch Nollywood films, Ghallywood films, I do not like all of them, but, I do not seethe and fume that I poured my meager expenses on an unfruitful adventure on a Saturday morning, when I could have sat under a coconut tree and fanned my unemployed self.
But for some reason in the promised land of the USA, independent black films barely make a point! They rarely give any insight into the society from which they operate – black culture. At best, these movies are so bogged down with jokes – old jokes and jokes again, told over and over – that they lack any real creativity.
Maybe I am not alone in how I feel and I wonder how you feel about this situation – that no matter how scanty the budget, no matter how old the camera and no matter how bad the actors on set may be, there can be no excuse for the ‘lack of substance.’ I feel you shouldn’t even start if you don’t have a story that makes a point! Is this too much to ask for when I pay 9 bucks for a DVD?
Certainly not. And I just continue to hope again, perhaps beyond hope – and like a child – that one day I may yet resume my weekly ritual and find with relative ease many a good independent black films I may just call jewels.