THE OBENSON REPORT

Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Sundance Dispatch #4 - A Good Day To Be Black And Sexy

I've mentioned this film in brief on my podcast, at least once. As of today, the end of the Sundance Film Festival, I don't believe it's been picked up for distribution by any company. But I'm keeping my eyes and ears open for anything new. I'm also hoping to have the filmmaker, Dennis Dortch, as a guest on my podcast sometime in the next month, to talk about the film and his experiences at Sundance. An extended synopsis of the film follows below; and just beneath that are links to a brief video interview with Dennis Dortch on YouTube, and an audio interview with 2 of the stars of the film, hosted by Spout.com.

From Sundance - Indeed, it is a very good day. Dennis Dortch’s daring directorial debut ambitiously charts black sexuality through a set of six deliciously amusing, interconnected vignettes that unfold in a single day in Los Angeles. A hot-button, “don’t-let-them-know-you’re-watching” constellation of intimate moments, A Good Day to Be Black & Sexy seduces us with obsessively watchable performances that make it at once familiar, provocative, and fresh. Women unapologetically figure it out for themselves, reclaiming license to be selfish, rude, and raunchy in a playfully enduring tug-of-war between the sexes. Explicitly exploring the texture of sex, Dortch packs the film full of viscerally seductive tones and sultry grittiness as he allows us sneak-peak access to a multitude of motives of desire—a woman in bed with her boyfriend jockeys for position to get hers first; a teenager explores the limits of her sexuality in questionable situations; a boy and his ball are held hostage by interracial taboos. Bringing overdone stereotypes about black sexuality to their knees, Dortch explodes a constellation of sexy little secrets that we would otherwise keep quiet. Packing a strong voice and innovative style, Dortch’s kaleidoscopic sketches are juicy and surprising with every step, stroke, and...ahem. Yes, he did just go there!

Here's the link to the video interview of Dennis Dortch: YouTube.

Here's the link to the audio interview: Spout.

SIDE NOTE ABOUT THE YOUTUBE VIDEO INTERVIEW: Towards the end of the interview, the interviewer states that people are saying that Dennis and his film are redefining black cinema. I always get uncomfortable when grandiose statements like that are bestowed upon one person or film. They completely negate every previous effort by filmmakers who challenged the status quo, and in essence sought to redefine black cinema - from Melvin Van Peebles, to William Greaves, to Charles Burnett, to Julie Dash, to Spike Lee, and many others. Obviously, it's not the filmmaker's fault in this case, but I would have liked his response to the interviewer's statement to echo what I just said above.

3 comments:

  1. cilladyer said...
     

    I could be off base here...but perhaps black filmmakers who are fortunate enough to garner media attention for their creative efforts should use the opportunity to draw attention to the efforts of their peers. I think this is one of the factors that stunts the growth of any movement. It becomes about one man's success and the achievements of others past and present go unnoticed. It's disturbing to know that many black people like myself, who love films, may never get to see some truly groundbreaking cinema.

  2. The Obenson Report said...
     

    No, you're not off. I agree. We've certainly seen something like this before.

    Because there's so little variety within the realm of black cinema, everytime a black filmmaker does something that's unlike much of the rest of the crop, we start to hear the media chant its usual proclaimations of a new dawn for black cinema. I recall when Spike Lee first burst onto the scene in the mid 80s, as an example.

    I'm not implying that's exactly what's happening here, by the way, but it's just a little off-putting whenever I hear members of the media make such powerful statements, without taking history into consideration.

  3. Jeremiah Jahi said...
     

    I have not seen Black and Sexy yet, so I cannot comment on the film. I have seen some interviews with the brother and I wish him all the best.

    As for the comment at the bottom of one of his reviews about his project being this new hot thing for Black cinema I found alarming. I just hope he doesn't believe that he is carrying some torch for Black cinema. A movement is larger than one person. It can make that one person wealthy and noticeable, but it cannot change the state of Black Cinema. In the current issue of Ebony (why I subscribe I do not know) they have an article entitled,"Blacks In Hollywood: Have we finally arrived?" My question is arrived to what? Being accepted by white folks (I am from the south so excuse the folks)? I bring this up because this is brought up so much. Even when a film is received by Sundance what does it mean? Does it mean they no what a dynamite film is? How many films have you seen that did not make it to Sundance that were just dynamite? All I am saying is Sundance has its politics just like anywhere else.

    We have to find a way to appreciate what we do regardless of mass media, Sundance, Ebony and any media outlet that really do not appreciate what Black Cinema is about. Like cilayer said, filmmakers should find ways to talk about the influences that filmmakers who are Black are having on them and helping there fellow filmmaker along this Jericho road called life. Cilladyer, final comment really saddened me because he or she should not have to feel that way about cinema. I will end by saying that as soon as we (Black people) decide to create work about the various things that make up the essence of Black folk then we will see ground breaking cinema. I

Post a Comment