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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Showing posts with label Drama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Drama. Show all posts

Friday, November 10, 2023

The Runaway (2000, TV Movie)

"The Runaway" (2000) is a made-for-television drama aired on CBS and was the 207th presentation of the Hallmark Hall of Fame. It was directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman and written by Ron Raley, who based the story on Terry Klay's 1997 novel under the same title as the film. The film stars an excellent cast, which includes Dean Cain, Debbie Morgan, Kathryn Erbe, Maya Angelou, Pat Hingle, Cliff De Young, Roxanne Hart, Robinne Lee, Cody Newton, and Duane McLaughlin.

This movie is excellent storytelling about the relationship of two boys from the 1940s South. One is black, and the other is white. They have a strong friendship that exists beyond racial color lines. They discover a human bone, which reopens the case of three black men murdered. Dean Cain leads the investigation of a sheriff trying to seek justice for a black family while the townspeople want their way of life to remain status quo. 

This movie has some admirable acting and storytelling. It's an honest take on the complications of race relationships in American society and the tribulations black people faced to get fair shots within the justice system. The film has no foul language or derogatory words, so it is suitable for multiple age ranges. I highly recommend it for viewing. I was pleasantly surprised how good it turned out to be.

Director: Arthur Allan Seidelman
Writers: Terry Klay, Ron Raley

Starring Dean Cain, Pat Hingle, Debbi Morgan, Kathryn Erbe, Cliff De Young, Roxanne Hart, Cody Newton, Duane McLaughlin, Maya Angelou, Robinne Lee, Kamali Minter, Afemo Omilami, Michael Harding, Robin O'Dell, Brett Rice, Mike Pniewski

At the birth of a black and white baby, a mysterious and powerful Conjure Woman (Maya Angelou) prophesies, "You're going to make a difference and start the change." And indeed, they do. Luke Winter (Cody Newton) and Joshua "Sonny" Monroe (Duan McLaughlin) grow up as best friends in a rural Georgia town in the 1940s. On one of their youthful adventures, they uncover a humane bone. Their discovery leads the town's new sheriff, Frank Richards (Dean Cain), to reopen an investigation of the unsolved murders of three black men. As he doggedly pursues the case, he learns that most townspeople prefer the truth to stay hidden. With each new clue, disturbing facts surfaced, making the sheriff more determined to see justice prevail. As the case threatens to split the town apart, Sonny and Luke feel pressured to conform to the segregated ways of the past. Tensions rise, and Sonny discovers he has become the main suspect in yet one more murder.

Monday, November 6, 2023

The Feast of All Saints (2001, TV Movie)

"The Feast of All Saints" (2001) is a made-for-television historical drama directed by Peter Medak and written by John Wilder, who based the film on Anne Rice's 1979 novel under the same title. The movie follows the 'free people of color (gens de couleur libres)' in pre-Civil War New Orleans, who were bi-racial or mixed-race people, not enslaved. The men were allowed education, possessed land, ran businesses, and sometimes owned enslaved people. The women had similar privileges but were also mistresses to white men of social status. White men would meet and court these women at an event known as the Quadroon Ball. Quadroon is a term that refers to a black person who is one-quarter black. As a result, a particular social class existed known as placage (plaçage), the baseline narrative for "The Feast of All Saints." Placage is a system where women who were not legally wives were still beneficiaries of wealthy white landowners and "placed" with the men. The 'free people of color' recognized the marriages, but they had little to no legal bearing.

"The Feast of All Saints" was a two-part miniseries on showtime with an incredible cast that includes Robert Ri'chard, Peter Gallagher, Gloria Reuben, Jennifer Beals, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Eartha Kitt, Pam Grier, Forest Whitaker, Jasmine Guy, James Earl Jones, Ben Vereen, Bianca Lawson, and Nicole Lyn. The story is an elaborate one that focuses on Cecile (Reuben) and her two children, Marcel (Ri'chard) and Marie (Lyn). All the actors did a fantastic job in a complicated film where the storytelling evolved in every scene. I have yet to read the novel, so I am unsure how accurate the movie is to the book, but the educational value alone is worth the watch if you are unfamiliar with this type of history.

Director: Peter Medak
Writers: Anne Rice (book), John Wilder (teleplay)

Starring Robert Ri'chard, Peter Gallagher, Gloria Reuben, Jennifer Beals, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Pam Grier, Jasmine Guy, James Earl Jones, Eartha Kitt, Ben Vereen, Forest Whitaker, Jenny Coope, Bianca Lawson, Nicole Lyn, Rachel Luttrell, Jason Olive, Daniel Sunjata, Alec McClure, Victoria Rowell, Toby Proctor, Karen Glave, John Gilbert, Walter Borden

Set in New Orleans in 1840, this is the tale about the "free people of color," who formed their class at a time when the predominant role of blacks in society was as enslaved people. The story focuses on the ordeal of a young man named Marcel Ste. Marie, who searches for the truth about his heritage.