Thursday, June 08, 2006

I'm not a Christian but...

Son of Man is one of the dopest movies I've seen in the past five years. With a Master’s in Divinity I'm usually pretty critical of Gospel stories. They usually lack the political edge that makes the historical Jesus a compelling character for me. The idea of wearing the crucifix, for example, comes from the Zealots who wished to be martyred as a political protest against roman occupation. They also went around with short daggers stabbing collaborators who stood in crowds. Think OZ. You’re not going to find references like that in The last temptation of Christ or that Mel Gibson horror flick (remind me to blog about seeing that with a predominantly black audience. Talk about crowd participation)

Son of Man puts Jesus into a modern political African environment. Yeah, re-read that last sentence so that it seeps in. Black Jesus? Big deal. Black political Jesus? Shoot the negro! Being filmed in South Africa and using theatrically trained actors, what you get is a visually arresting sonically soothing mélange of entertainment and motivation. You know how good art is supposed to prompt you to make your own art? I walked out of the flick angry that my novel isn’t done. Angry I say.

Brief note about the costuming seeing as to how every place else you look to read about this film will talk about the singing and a black Jesus, both of which I appreciate. But you know how people say things like “Men are the new women” and “Pink is the new black?” Well I never understood the former statement until I started working out and saw us, as men groom ourselves like petite ponies, mostly for the affection of women. But I was stuck on the Pink being the New Black thing until I saw the devil in “The son of Man” strutting through some sand dunes carrying a walking stick that had a fawn’s leg as a handle, sporting a long black coat, black baggy pants and, you guessed it, a pink shirt. Pink is the new black. Got it. The other costuming choice that I loved had to do with the special effects in the movie. There were none. Jesus casting demons out of a little girl was done solely through the acting of the girl and Jesus and one of several murals done throughout the township done to accentuate the miracles of the Big J. So how do you have angels with no special effects? Simple, paste some feathers on little African kids and have them all speak in unison. Have a two chord audio cue whenever they come on camera and, oh yeah, believe that little African children can be angels. It did my heart good to see African children portrayed not as Romanized romantic cherubs, but as African angels, big bellies, angry eyes, knobby knees, the whole nine.

The San Francisco Black film festival is still going on, so if you’re in the bay you to no excuse not to check this flick out. Honestly, I don’t see it getting major distribution. It religious, political, and black. America ain’t ready ya’ll. But if you get the chance, peep it. I’m off to be the new woman.

Oh yeah, And Mary ain’t no joke in the flick.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice movie review. I'm intrigued by the costume choices and will try to find the film for that alone. But the real reason I'm here: I have a proposal for youse guys (2 of you, right?) related to my upcoming webzine: Code Z. I'm looking for collaborators. Sorry to be doing this in public, but I can't find an email addy on here anywhere. Email me off-list, wouldja? cinque [replacewithatsymbol] influxhouse =dothere= com. Peace.

9:11 AM  

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