Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Film Finds - Complexion

In response to an email I received regarding my "Film Finds" category posts on this blog, I should be clear that I haven't seen any of these films, and thus I'm not recommending any of them! 

Instead, think of each post as an FYI on upcoming films by and/or about people of the African Diaspora that have, for one reason or another, generated some buzz on some circuit (usually the festival circuit). It's entirely up to you to do what you like with the information.

For this entry, the story goes... Derek meets Tracee, and the two immediately form a special bond. From a distance all seems perfect in their relationship. However, we learn there’s something that’s keeping Derek from truly falling in love with Tracee – her skin complexion. Even though they’re both black, his preference is to be with black women that he considers “light skinned.” Both Derek and Tracee’s friends try to make sense of what would make a person feel this way, but by dissecting this controversial topic they learn that everyone has preferences, including them. Powerful, thought provoking, and unforgettable, Complexion evokes rare emotion that forces us all to surrender to its power.

Resume: 2008 American Black Film Festival, 2008 African Diaspora Film Festival

Here's the trailer (as always, share your thoughts below):


  1. Invisible Hand said...

    This trailer looks interesting enough, but it gets back to something I've been noticing. Where are the quality indie black comedies (if there are any)? Sure we see black actors like Eddie Murphy, et al. in Hollywood comedies from time to time, but can you even name a black indie comedy that's even worth a damn?

    I write TV comedies for a living and since the end of UPN there hasn't even been that outlet for black comedy writers (not that I, personally, will miss any of those shows). I was hoping more people would use the opportunity a hostile Hollywood environment has created to buck the system and make their own comedies, but as for right now I haven't seen them. Have you?

    Loving the blog and all the great information on underground black films.

  2. Anonymous said...
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  3. Anonymous said...

    we might need to open up a chat box for this one or a bulletin board lol
    so i know that i have a complexion complex. i love men that are blacker than black. i will date all shades of black men though. i don't prefer darker men i just like them a lot. i do picture my husband being dark though. i just don't want mixed race looking kids. it is really whack but damn so what. i wouldn't date someone for an extended period of time if a preference i had would hold me back.

    ok the relationship in the film is on some whackness if it is that he wants a light skinned woman but he is holding on to the woman he is with. i mean if he knows what he wants but he is with her that isn't fair. i mean can we really battle our desires that much. it's like there would be an invisible woman in the relationship. like he is in love with someone else that doesn't exist. i meet guys all the time that say i'm not their type but i'm cool. go wait for the invisible woman it's hard enough competing with an ex-flame or all the other women around.

  4. The Obenson Report said...

    I.H. - Depends on how you define comedy. There are a few indie films that have made the rounds in recent years that I would consider comedic - not necessarily the knee-slapping, rolling-on-the-floor-laughing kind of comedy, but smarter comedy.

    It also depends on how you define "quality." I've seen some no-budget/lo-budget indie films by black filmmakers that were obviously made with little to no money, meaning, for example that production values may not be as high; but, the content is intriguing enough that I've been able to enjoy and appreciate some of them.

    So, it all depends on what your level of tolerance is, I suppose.

    But, stay tuned, I'll post them as I see them, both recent productions, as well as films from previous years.

    However, we should note that there just aren't that many worthwhile indie black films being produced. So, the question should instead be, where are all the quality black indies?

  5. The Obenson Report said...

    MLM - tell us how you really feel :o)

  6. Invisible Hand said...

    I guess I would define a successful comedy as something with a primary design of being humorous and that succeeds in making you laugh. Of course there are degrees within that, but for a functional idea of things I think it's pretty useful. "Hollywood Shuffle" comes to mind as a good example of what I'm talking about.

    And as far as quality... well, if it's successful in being funny, for comedy that's all you need... screw budgets or production values (just look at youtube).

    I'm actually very curious about "Black Dynamite" because it might be a funny, different comedy. At least the trailer looks that way.

  7. Anonymous said...

    indie black comedies. the hollywood shuffles, i'm gonna get you sucka, hanging with the homies, who's da man,fear of a black hat, ....err
    let me pause i'm thinking of indie as not making it to theaters. did all those richard pryor and bill cosby movies make it to the theater? it's hard to remember what went to theaters and what didn't. i think most of the new black filmmakers are just concerned with so many issues that we aren't laughing much anymore. when i go to the video store i read about every case on the shelves. i see a nice handful of black films with names like "wifey" and "derrick's wedding" lol there are fewer comedies. i see a bunch of dramas though. they are being made. i remember there was one the first film i saw terrance howard in with a bunch of brothers sitting around a table playing cards or something talking about life. there is another one with erika alexander about a bunch of friends who are approaching 30 that one was good. bah i would like to see more too invisible.

  8. Anonymous said...

    hey obenson help me out a longtime ago i was watching this special on black filmmakers you know one of those sunday abc specials. anyways, they talked about this young filmmaker that often times allowed the actors to add-lib their dialogue. he committed suicide. do you know who he is?

  9. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...

    Hmm... I wonder just how thought provoking it really is if the conclusion is that we just simply have prefences...?

    Surely, it's the issue of what predisposes us to our supposed preferences that's at the heart of this matter; not to mention how such forces then go on to have the power to disuade us from giving in to our most authentic and most deeply seated feelings, even when they're made manifest and standing in front of us, all in favour of this 'preference.'

    It's a bit like people preferring stuff that has a $3m ad campaign behind it as opposed to the uneard of, or no-name brand - even if the no-name brand is of higher quality and/or better value for money.

    Should be an interesting watch, though, even if only to see how they came to such a simplistic conclusion.

  10. The Obenson Report said...

    MLM - Sorry, I have no idea who you're referring to. How long ago was this - what decade?

  11. The Obenson Report said...

    UK Black Chick aka Wendy - Kind of a long name you've got there, don't you think? :o)

    I won't be in any hurry to see this if/when it's released (likely straight-to-DVD). It definitely looks like the production values are high - well shot, etc... But something about it makes it look a little silly to me.

    So... I'll wait for you guys to watch it first...

  12. The Obenson Report said...

    I.H. - "Black Dynamite" is a film I'd like to see. There's a small chance that I'll be at the Sundance Film Festival next month, if I can afford a package. If I do go, it'll definitely be a film that I'll check out.

    If you haven't seen it already, you should check out "Chameleon Street" (probably one of the better indie black comedy/tragedies ever made). I'll be posting an entry about it eventually.

  13. Invisible Hand said...

    Own "Chameleon Street" on DVD and VHS. Got it years ago after watching Soderbergh talk about it on the "Out of Sight" commentary. You're right, though -- it's great. It's a shame Wendell Harris hasn't come out with anything else.

  14. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...

    Oi! Tambini! Leave my moniker alone!!


    And maybe the trailer seems a little silly because it's not quite as "Powerful, thought provoking, and unforgettable" as it's pretending to be. Mildy interesting, perhaps, but let's not orgasm on hyperbole.

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