Breaking Brown

December 23, 2011

“Pariah” and the new wave in black filmmaking

Black film Pariah

This is exactly what I mean when I say folks should leave Tyler Perry alone. If his movies fall flat for you, look elsewhere. There are filmmakers out there, all worth your time, who you could be talking about instead of Tyler Perry. Remember, all publicity is good publicity, so if the very thought of Madea sends you into fits, then talk about these movies. Be about these movies.

I’m not saying I support all of Perry’s work.  I’m just saying it’s long past time to stop wading in opposition and, instead, indulge in affirmation. To pretend that Tyler Perry’s the endgame is to be ill informed at best and disingenuous at worst.

For me, this new black wave is bliss. It’s what I want to talk about. This from the New York Times on “Pariah”, a film about black lesbians, directed by a black filmmaker:


…It was a major success at the Sundance Festival in January and, even before its limited release on Wednesday, has entered the conversation as a long shot Oscar contender….But “Pariah” is important, not simply as a promising directorial debut, but also as the most visible example of the mini-movement of young black filmmakers telling stories that complicate assumptions about what “black film” can be by embracing thorny issues of identity, alienation and sexuality…


 In addition to “Pariah” these features include Rashaad Ernesto Green’s “Gun Hill Road,”Andrew Dosunmu’s “Restless City,” Alrick Brown’s “Kinyarwanda” and Victoria Mahoney’s “Yelling to the Sky.” The first four made their premieres at Sundance in January, while Ms. Mahoney’s effort appeared at the Berlin Film Festival in February. (Two other films that should also be added to this group: Barry Jenkins’s “Medicine for Melancholy,” from 2008, a day in the life of two black bohemians wandering the streets of San Francisco, and Qasim Basir’s “Mooz-lum” (2011), a character study of a Muslim teenager in the Midwest.)

Be about it. Support these movies in the same way Perry fans support his work.


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One thought on ““Pariah” and the new wave in black filmmaking

  1. eric magee says:

    I just finished watching Pariah on PPV. The movie exceeded my expectations. Very high quality movie! I look forward to more movies like this. Kim Wanyas look extra nice 🙂 All the ladies did 🙂

    Excellent storyline, directing, & production … more, more, more please!!!

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