The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
The Department of Afro American Research, Arts, and Culture's Archive is a subdivision of DAARAC that digitally preserves Afro American films. On this website, you may browse our archive that consists of film posters, screenshots, and movie synopsis. All information provided here is for research and reference purposes. We do not host full-length films on this website.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sounder (1972)

  • Cicely Tyson
  • Paul Winfield
  • Kevin Hooks
  • Carmen Mathews
  • Taj Mahal
  • James Best
  • Eric Hooks
  • Yvonne Jarrell
  • Sylvia Kuumba Williams
The Morgans, a loving and strong family of Black sharecroppers in Louisiana in 1933, face a serious family crisis when the husband and father, Nathan Lee Morgan, is convicted of a petty crime and sent to a prison camp. After some weeks or months, the wife and mother, Rebecca Morgan, sends the oldest son, who is about 11 years old, to visit his father at the camp. The trip becomes something of an odyssey for the boy. During the journey he stays a little while with a dedicated Black schoolteacher.
Sounder is an admirable family film that honors its source material while reasonably portraying race sensitive material. It's 1933 and the Great Depression has taken its toll on the Deep South. Nathan Morgan is busting his ass to keep his family afloat. But, crippling conditions are pushing his family to starvation. So, he steals a pig off a local landowner's farm. When he's caught, Nathan has to go to jail. What will the Morgan family and their dog do to get by?Sounder is a unique film that challenged the likes of The Godfather and Cabaret at the 1972 Academy Awards. The young David Morgan and his dog headline a story that's as simple as it is complex. Never does the story drift into familiar boy and his dog territory. Hell, the dog is incidental character for half of the picture. The dog's more of a symbol of the family's integrity.Sounder enters into this weird territory that draws comparisons to a modern film like George Washington. It's a rare look at the dynamics of being poor in America. David Morgan spends most of the film trying to make sense of the events taking place. There's no big schemes to save the day or rescue his father. It's a kid that just wants to know what the hell is going on. When push comes to shove, he always ends up retreating back to his dog.Director Martin Ritt does an amazing job creating a realistic world for a kid friendly movie. Adults don't have all the answers and the good guys don't win at the end of the day. When the local sheriff turns away from the Morgans or talks down to them, even small children know what's going on. It's a realistic portrayal of second class citizenship in the land of the free. These clever suggestions in the performances help score the quiet nuances that populate this film.
Sounder has found a special place as one of the most underrated films of the 1970s. One part children's film and one part meditation on race relations, Sounder never pulls back. Through the children that populate this film, you get a harrowing look at being powerless in America. The color line is a noose that tightens around information and feelings of security. By the end of the film, you know what it is to be helpless before a power that you can't understand.The positive side to all of this is that the film retains hope. In spite of its rather soft depictions of violence against African Americans, the film is still incredibly realistic. What makes it more impressive is that the film's main funding came from the Mattel Corporation. Name a toymaker today that would be willing to fund a two hour dialogue driven film about race. This is an important movie and it demands a rental.

Provided by Cinemageddon Power user cephas333 thru Funkback

Link to Soundtrack review
Taj Mahal - Sounder (1972)


Anonymous said...


Funkback said...

Well, thanx for offering an alternative or a backup. It's always good to have out there. You can never have too much Sounder. I wish I had me the TV-series too. That was scored by Taj Mahal too btw. I noticed I missed out on a crucial element at the beginning of the review it's corrected now, thanx for bringing it to my attention

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