There are many memorable moments in Spike Lee’s 2020 film Da 5 Bloods. From Delroy Lindo’s performance- hell, the entire cast’s performance- to the cinematography and the story line, the film held me awestruck, tearful, and contemplative through its entirety. But perhaps the most compelling aspect of this film for me was Lee’s incorporation of Marvin Gaye’s 1971 album What’s Going On. It was such a minor, yet monumentally, moving choice that etched this film into my brain and sent my thoughts soaring.
I wanted to use For My Culture 1 this month to highlight these works, not only because they deserve it- they are amazing works of art- but because I want to support Black women. I want their films to be a part of our discourse, our top 10 lists, our reviews, and daily conversations. These are all films directed by Black women that you can stream RIGHT NOW. The future of the film industry is slowly looking brighter when it comes to opening up diversity and opportunities for Black women, as well as other minorities, but the progress is too slow. We have to do our part with support and recognition, and I for one am more than happy to do so. Watching these films over the past few years and weeks was a blast for me. They are strong pieces. They evoked so much emotion, made me laugh, and filled me in places I didn’t know were empty. I hope you all enjoy this list as much as I did!
Anyways, now that I’m back to my computer screen, I’ve got some tea to share. Some streaming tea. Now, I’ve watched a lot of shows and movies over the past month…like a lot, but I don’t want to bore you with all the gory details, so I’ll just give you some of the highlights of the past month. Here is a list of my favorite watches for May quarantine:
Once described as the “Asian Daria,” Diane Nguyen is unlike the rest of her rag-tag counterparts. Her morbid, self-aware, and monotone nature stands out like a sore thumb in the middle of Hollywood’s A-list party. Her moral high ground is miles above the rest of her friends’, and that makes her not only the moral compass of the show much of the time, but it also gives her a condescending personality- one that she uses on others profusely, but rarely on herself. She is constantly talking down on her loved ones, simply because she expects more of them than they expect from themselves.
Atlantics (2019) was first released at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival when it competed for the Palme d’Or. The films director and co-writer, Mati Diop, made history when she became the first black woman who directed a film featured in the competition- also winning the Grand Prix award for it. After its release at Cannes and later in Senegal, the film was picked up and released on Netflix for wide viewing.
Jezebel (2019) is a semi-autobiographical, coming-of-age film written and directed by Numa Perrier. The story follows 19 year old Tiffany (Tenille) through the struggles of growing up and losing her mother, while she also finds work as a cam-girl.
Marriage Story (2019) is the brand new Noah Baumbach film released on Netflix this month. The film and its stars have been nominated for numerous upcoming awards, and its clips are being shared and discussed all over the tweeter every day. Whether you’ve liked the film or even seen it, you’ve at least heard of it and its explosive scene between the two main characters- Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie (Adam Driver.)
Netflix’s new show, The Witcher, based on a slew of books, stories, video games, and more content of the same name, premiered just at the end of 2019 and really ended the streaming services year of shows and original films with a ‘bang.’ In the new series, we watch as states literally rise and others fall at the hands of those risen states, and we watch as Mages helm the opposing sides into victory. The Witcher is much like many fantasy shows of it’s kind, with witches and kings and queens galore, but what I believe this show began, and what I hope it will continue to do, is tell in-depth stories about the characters of its show and also offer ample opportunities for people, especially women, of color.
Every once in a while, a romantic-comedy is released and restores a little bit of peace to the world. The rose-colored haze of epic loves and grand, romantic gestures seen on film is enough to make almost anyone forget the trivialities of real life for just an hour and a half and completely allow themselves to be swept away by the fairy-tale.