Title

Global Visions Film Series: Night Catches Us

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-26-2011

Abstract

Global Visions Film Series: Night Catches Us

The Pledge of Allegiance used in the opening lines of the film, “Night Catches Us” and, presented as a question, set the tone for the film by reminding us that “liberty and justice for all” has never been clear cut in the United States.

A former Black Panther, Marcus (Mackie) returns home for his father’s funeral and finds the Philadelphia he left hasn't forgotten him. It’s been four years, but Marcus’ reputation is that of a snitch, and coming home, he is forced to confront the people in his life whom he left behind after he was arrested.

The film is set 1976, during the height of the Black Panther movement, and deals with the after effects of a member of the Black Panthers who shot a police officer, who was later killed by the police during his attempted arrest.

The excellent acting of Mackie and Washington allows the audience to get a sense of the stakes, but the real star of the film is Jamara Griffin, who plays Patricia’s (Washington) daughter, Iris. Through her, we get the history of the movement, and through her we see the repercussions. Each of the other main characters focus on Iris, and give to and keep from her, all of the information that makes up and allows this particular story to develop.

The film starts and ends with Marcus, but Iris makes up the middle, and in a poignant scene in which she asks her mother about how her father died, and when she gets no response she rips down the wallpaper in the entryway of their house and learns the truth, we see the main nerve of the Black Panther ideology.

Hamilton succeeds in capturing the individual, which can often be lost in the power and strength of a movement, while at the same time maintaining a firm grip on the very real frustrations that were pushing the Panthers to action. The soundtrack was done by The Roots, and takes the audience in and out of the thumping bass of action, the melodic sadness of oppression, and the soul of hope for a chance at happiness. There are few, if any, politically driven value judgements in this film.

The audience is left to decide: is it better to live in the past with the mistakes you've made, or to try to start over by leaving behind the situations that have made you who you are.

Amy Kielmeyer

English MA Student

The Global Visions Film Series

The Department of Anthropology’s popular Global Visions Film Series (GVFS) will bring an exciting array of films to the community of Grand Forks for the 9th consecutive year. The Global Visions Film Series presents two films per month in the Memorial Union Lecture Bowl on the campus of the University of North Dakota. The series is currently the only venue in Grand Forks to view award-winning, nationally recognized independent films from a wide variety of contemporary film makers around the world. This fall, the series will bring six films to UND. All films begin at 7 p.m.

The series begins with For Colored Girls, based on Nobi Award Winning American playwright and poet Ntosake Shange’s play. . Each of the women in the film portrays one of the characters represented in the collection of twenty poems, and each poem deals with intense issues that impact women in a thought-provoking commentary on what it means to be a female of color in the world. The film is based on Ntozake Shange’s electric play, the self-described choreopoem “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf.” It is a classic of its unapologetic feminist era, consisting of some 20 poems accompanied by choreographed movement and music, including a blast of Martha and the Vandellas. The characters are seven chromatically differentiated women (brown, yellow, purple, red, green, blue and orange) from points across the country. It is a classic and unapologetic film reflective of the feminist era, of seven chromatically differentiated women (brown, yellow, purple, red, green, blue and orange) who explore and explode their stores from points across the country. This is a must see film! Rated R.

Global Visions is working with the University of North Dakota’s Great Conversation series by screening two films related to humanitarian work carried out by Doctor’s Without Borders. Dr. James Orbinski will speak on October 26th, and in honor of his visit, Triage: TRIAGE: DR. JAMES ORBINSKI'S HUMANITARIAN DILEMMA and Living in Emergency are screening on October 19th, and November 2. For more information contact:

Robin David, Assistant Professor

Honors Program, 777-6185

All films in the Global Visions Film Series are award winning national and international films, whose cinematic acuity and artistic perspectives reveal the realities of daily life from cross-cultural perspectives, exposing the unity and disparity of the human condition around the world.

Upcoming Global Visions Films Include

Night Catches us

Triage

Living in Emergency

Biutiful

Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus

Wednesday, October 7

Wednesday, October 19

Wednesday, November 2

Wednesday, November 9

Wednesday, December 7

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