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
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Stranger Inside (2001)

  • Yolonda Ross
  • Davenia McFadden
  • Rain Phoenix
Cheryl Dunye's gritty jail drama STRANGER INSIDE tells the story of Treasure, a young girl who's gone on the wrong side of the tracks of life and who gets reunited with her birth mother, Brownie, in jail. Instead of finding love and reassurance, though, she learns Brownie is a very dangerous and violent person who may even be using her for her interests while in jail, but Treasure is so determined to win Brownie over that all logic flies out the window, and even when in one chilling scene Brownie threatens to slice her, she still continues to come back. Social displacement and broken families are at the center of this very honest indie film which I caught on HBO recently, and there are never any moments of exploitation so common in women's prison pictures. In fact, this is an unsentimental study of the nature of violent people who even in their violence are still trying to make some sense out of their lives, and it takes actors not yet tainted by vanity and glamour to accept these roles. Yolonda Ross, Davenia McFadden, and Rain Phoenix all play their parts with verve, and even if the ending is somewhat downbeat and ambivalent, you won't forget Treasure. Highly recommended.