Daily Archives: April 21, 1995

Black-And-White World [BLACK GIRL]

From the Chicago Reader, April 21, 1995. It’s lamentable that, although Black Girl is now available on DVD from New Yorker, the color sequence in it appears in black and white. (In fact, I only saw this sequence in color for the first time when I showed this film in a course on world cinema of the 60s that I taught in Chicago in 2008.) To see this sequence in color, order the film’s BFI edition from Amazon UK. — J.R.

Black Girl

Rating **** Masterpiece

Directed and written by Ousmane Sembène

With Mbissine Thérèse Diop, Momar Nar Sene, Anne-Marie Jelinck, Robert Fontaine, Ibrahima Boy, and the voices of Toto Bissainthe, Robert Marcy, and Sophie Leclerc.

If you trace African film back to its first fiction feature, it is only 30 years old. Yet far from being underdeveloped, it begins on a more sophisticated level than any other cinema in the world. By some accounts Ousmane Sembène’s hour-long Black Girl was made in 1965, by others 1966, a characteristic ambiguity when it comes to African movies. Do you date them according to when they were made or when they were first shown? And given the scant and largely unreliable print sources that we have to check, how can we be sure about either date?… Read more »

The Cure

Though it loses some of its steam before the end, this is an uncommonly affecting and unhackneyed story about a friendship between two alienated 11-year-old boys from neighboring middle-class, single-parent homes, one of whom has AIDS. Working from an original script by Robert Kuhn that mixes comedy and tragedy as if they were kissing cousins, actor Peter Horton makes an impressive directorial debut. Though the story is provisionally about intolerance of and ignorance about AIDS, it focuses on the boys’ friendship and adventures–including a Huckleberry Finn-like escape down the river in search of the cure of the title–and the actors do an exceptional job with it, especially Brad Renfro (The Client) and Annabella Sciorra. With Joseph Mazzello, Diana Scarwid, and, in a part that seems to have been severely trimmed, Bruce Davison. Ford City, Norridge, Gardens, Golf Glen, Lincoln Village, Water Tower. … Read more »