Monday, December 26, 2016

August Wilson's "Fences" - The Movie - And The "Changing Times In America" Since "American Apartheid"

I saw the play "Fences" a long while ago during a student performance while in college.
The new movie starting Denzel Washington, Viola Davis and Mykelti Williamson - to use the baseball colloquium - "Knocked It Out Of The Park".

I took my family to see the film on Christmas Day as a means of getting out of the house.

Unfortunately all of the theaters that sold online reserved seating in the Black areas in the core and 'first ring cities' of Atlanta were jam packed.  I told my son to look in the known White areas the southern suburbs for a theater playing the movie because this was our best chance.

Ironically - Coweta County Georgia has "Changed" more than I had assumed.

  • Inside of the theater, on the way into the film, I saw a famous man who I would otherwise call "A Civil Rights Pharisee" (I will not mention his name because it is not relevant" ) and spoke to him
    • On the way out - as I was walking down I stopped to allow him to come out and had a brief exchange with him.  We both agreed that it was a quality film and he noted that "This was OUR REALITY" during those time.
    • I then noticed that he was there with his other sons and daughters, whose faces I recognized from the photographs of his family over the years.   CLEARLY one of his children are what I call "Black Flight Progressives" - having leveraged the modern day freedoms that they as Black people experience - and now live peacefully among their 'White Right Wing Political Enemies" - in pursuit of their "(Black) American Dream"
  • I saw more Black patrons at this relatively new theater than would be have been the case when it opened a few years ago.
  • I saw two gay White males holding hand as they exited the theater that is nestled in a solidly 'Red County On The Southside' - this as the newspapers stoke up the concerns that in the next Georgia Legislative Session - the state will 'officially discriminate against the Gays" 
  • I then saw a Black man and a White woman holding hands as I walked to my car.   
    • The movie "Loving" personified 

This was not a "Good Black Film" it was a "Good Film"!!
The key distinguishing feature between it and the "Civil Rights Propaganda films" that I refuse to pay for is that it focuses on INTER-HUMAN/FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS and then shows the reality of America's Apartheid System of the past - all without making THE SYSTEM the central part of the story - as is the case with "Semla", etc.

Credit playwright August Wilson for having the mastery and insight to make 3RD DIMENSIONAL BLACK CHARACTERS - which is all that I am asking for - beyond the "racial oppression" propaganda intent of these other films.

Denzel Washington did his usual quality performance that had me 'living vicariously' through his character and the choices that he made.

Viola Davis showed her talents as well as she brought to life the real world of a supportive wife and a full human being who had to sacrifice herself in order to keep a family together BECAUSE she (her character) had experienced the pain of a broken family.  Her goal was to break the cycle. 

The only criticism of this film, ironically, was that all of the actors - who were playing "Poor working class Black people in segregated Pittsburgh circa 1950 - had perfectly straight, brilliant colored white teeth.   You would not be able to go into a poor community today - Black or White - and find such perfect dental work among all of the real world characters.  :-)  
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