The racial tension still exists today – devastating, indeed. Raoul Peck’s timely documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” examines James Baldwin’s unfinished novel “Remember This House” via the various film excerpts, interviews, and archival footage. Samuel L. Jackson’s narration respects Baldwin’s powerful words.
“I Am Not Your Negro” frequently feels like the audio book with images and thus, Baldwin’s formidable statements are rather restrained to a certain extent. Peck is able to tap into the zeitgeist yet never completely arrives to the finish line – connects to the current racial tensions, but remains focused on the past racial frictions.
Nonetheless, Baldwin’s observations are essential, regardless the era you were born in – resonated back in the 1960s and still strike the chord during the Trump Administration. B
Narrative films divulge fictitious tales (excluding biopics). Documentary films tackle astonishing and sometimes, heart wrenching subjects.
Former professional football player Steve Gleason and wife Michel Varisco-Gleason survive ALS and produce video diaries. Mr. Gleason confronts the ALS trials and tribulations and prioritizes fatherhood to Rivers Gleason. Various family and friends extend money to ALS patients, research, technology, and the like.
ALS causes agony to the family impacted and thus, “Gleason” demonstrates the ALS progression. It’s simultaneously hell, heartbreaking, and poignant. You feel melancholy before “Gleason” investigates all perspectives of the narrative. Sure, the documentary delivers the formulaic introduction and follows preexistent structure. You may ignore the conventionalism and admire the singularity.
“Gleason” is confident to demonstrate upfront integrity. Everyone must eventually accept mortality. You are able to select the positive or negative attitude towards the inevitable human fate. The Gleason family remains motivated and accordingly, the contagious inspiration circulates to the masses (The ALS Bucket Challenge).
Whereas narrative films constrain the sentimental punch, “Gleason” allows reaction to slowly expand, enables concern to register, and the schmaltz abruptly wallops. It’s worth the wait. Documentaries are beyond powerful than you recognize.
Please do not avoid Gleason’s tragic tale. Live and love with the distinct purpose. B+
For Your Consideration: Best Documentary Feature
Review Structure Key
Regular reviews ~ Word count varies.
Mini reviews ~ Positives and negatives (+/-) analysis.
Brief reviews ~ One hundred words, more or less.