24 March 2017.
I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO ****
Here is a searing, damning document on the black people’s condition in American history. The last work of the infinitely intelligent and eloquent writer and social critic James Baldwin (1924-1987) is narrated here by Samuel L. Jackson in this powerful documentary by Haitian director Raoul Peck. Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript “Remember This House” has been adapted to recount the infamous killings of 3 black leaders, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
Baldwin’s commentary and Peck’s direction intertwine the lives and deaths of those three great men with sporadic clips of Baldwin in interviews and international speeches, along with archival clips of the civil rights struggle of the American Negro. Peck has done an encyclopaedic job of gathering the historical facts to create a shattering, deeply emotional document on decades of racial injustice and inequality in America. It was nominated for an Oscar and should have won.
I don’t know how you will feel, but after the lights came on in the theater where I first saw the documentary, I felt utterly ashamed to be white. I could only hang my head in sorrow and silence. For how can one forgive and excuse ages of shameful conduct towards an entire people, just because of their color?
This is not an easy film but it is incredibly moving, important and must be seen. It is a testimonial to all that was wrong for so long, and a reminder that it should never be repeated.
MONSIEUR & MADAME ADELMAN **** (vo French)
There is something quite Woody Allenish in this French film about the different stages of a couple in love. The ferociously funny and intellectual TV commentator and son of comedian Guy Bedos, first-time director Nicolas Bedos has co-written (with his co-star Doria Tillier) and stars in this brilliant analysis of attraction, compatibility, family, a writer’s dilemma and above all, the state of being Jewish.
For Bedos’s character starts off as an aspiring writer from a dysfunctional Christian bourgeois family and ends up taking a Jewish name because his lady love Sarah Adelman is Jewish, and because he is fascinated by her warm and intelligent family. He also regularly sees a shrink.
The dialogue is deliciously smart, the couple’s love over 45 years feels totally real, the music (also by Bedos!) and ageing makeup are incredible, and it is simply a beautiful lesson in acceptance of the other. It is in fact the best French film I’ve seen in some time – both funny and terribly moving.
Bedos knows how to make biting social commentary along with a surprisingly tender slant towards amour.
Innovative in its emotions, it is intellectually phenomenal and not to be missed.
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.