Dear White People @ The Ross

Samantha "Sam" White (Tessa Thompson)

Samantha “Sam” White (Tessa Thompson)

I just have one word for independent film director Justin Simien: Why don’t you tell us how you really feel? Well, they’re nine words that form a question, but that’s neither here nor there. My point is that Simien’s film debut Dear White People is a cinematic letter to … well … white people, and this director has produced a very provocative analysis of race-relations in the United States. Dear White People is in-your-face, and its delivery is as strong as a punch from legendary pugilist Muhammad Ali, and you take it as would a champ because you know the truth will set you free even though it hurts.

Sam confronts Kurt (Kyle Gallner) about his decision to eat in her residence hall cafeteria

Sam confronts Kurt (Kyle Gallner) about his decision to eat in her residence hall cafeteria

Tessa Thompson, plays Samantha “Sam” White, a bi-racial media arts major and radio personality who hosts a show called “Dear White People” at an Ivy League institution called Winchester University. On that show, Sam broadcasts the absurdity of the many thoughts, words, and deeds white people embrace about black people in this so-called post-racial society; and, she is sure to put the spotlight on white privilege in the United States. Her wit is acerbic but it is ok because you know the truth will set you free even though it hurts.

She opens every show with “Dear White People,” and then begins with an observation. Here’s one: “Dear White People, the amount of black friends required not to seem racist has just been raised to two; sorry, but your weed man, Tyrone, does not count,” and another, “Dear white people, don’t touch my hair; what is this a petting zoo?”

Ivy Style @ Winchester University

Ivy Style @ Winchester University

Some letters come with a Post Script, and Dear White People has one for African Americans as the film ponders the intra-racial dynamics at play in the community; and, there is a P.S.S. for institutions of higher learning that turn a blind eye towards parties of white students dressed in blackface, among other costumes in this … uhm … post-racial society.

The Ross logo

Dear White People plays through November 6 at The Ross Media Arts Center.

Listen to the Friday Live at the Mill! @ 1:10:06

http://netnebraska.org/interactive-multimedia/none/friday-live-bassons-across-nebraska

Watch for in-depth Film • Television • & More reviews & commentary.

In the meantime, Catch a film … Share the Popcorn … Feed Your Soul!

Advertisements

A Summer’s Tale @ The Ross

Gaspard (Melvil Poupaud)

Gaspard (Melvil Poupaud)

Sometimes I think plans and schedules, among other organizing tools, are gremlins that seduce us into thinking that we really can order our world. We know them all too well, but as the Scottish poet Robert Burns warns us, “best laid plans of mice and men often go awry!” Indeed, plans, calendars, reminders, etc. are folly to the gods, and I’d bet my last dollar that the gods dispense these mischievous gremlins to taunt us with the notion that we can control every minute of our day!

The late French Director and French New Wave devotee Eric Rohmer explores this reality in his emotionally intelligent film A Summer’s Tale. Set in the North of France, A Summer’s Tale is … well … a tale about a usual summer’s vacation taken by an ordinary young man named Gaspard (Melvil Poupaud), who, in a few weeks will enter the adult world via employment at a boring job.

He strolls the beach and plays his guitar all in anticipation of a call from his girlfriend, Lena (Aurelia Nolin), whom he hopes will join him for the excursion. In the meantime, Margot, a waitress (Amanda Langlet) becomes his companion; they take day trips filled with conversations about what is important in life and relationships. When he tells her that Lena is the source of his angst, Margot morphs into his confidant. Discouraged by the hit-or-miss situation caused by Lena’s non-committal attitude, he considers Margot’s suggestion to romance her friend Solene (Gwenaelle Simon), which is an easy transition since Solene is attracted to Gaspard.

A Summer’s Tale is finely-tuned story that forces us to think about how we resolve issues of intimacy when we change in the absence of our partners-in-romance. Rohmer, who died in 2010, left the film world this intimate tear sheet of a story that dispenses a sliver of light to ward off those nasty gremlins that taunt us over our best laid plans. In the midst of clearing them out of our space, we can turn the other cheek and smile in the knowledge that THIS is life. Margot and Gaspard and Solene do just that.

The Ross logo

Watch for in-depth Film • Television • & More reviews & commentary.
In the meantime, Catch a film … Share the Popcorn … Feed Your Soul!

%d bloggers like this: