While local rep theaters are out of commission, we'll be putting together weekly watchlists of films readily available to stream. This week, we continue to highlight films that center on the Black experience in solidarity with the essential Black Lives Matter movement.
Da 5 Bloods (2020)
The latest Spike Lee joint follows a group of Black veterans as they travel back to Vietnam to excavate the remains of their dead squad leader (Chadwick Boseman), a cache of gold and their repressed personal issues. Delroy Lindo gives an Oscar-worthy performance in this searing indictment of a war that should never have been waged. Netflix.
Daughters of the Dust (1991)
Julie Dash's visually stunning 1902 period piece is a celebration of Gullah culture vaguely centered on three generations of women. Widely acclaimed and influential—Beyoncé's 2016 visual album Lemonade is heavily inspired by its lush images—Daughters of the Dust is also the first film by a Black woman to be distributed theatrically. Amazon Prime, Criterion Channel, Kanopy.
Adapting her 2009 short documentary Atlantiques into a fictional feature, French-Sengalese director Mati Diop crafts a whirlwind supernatural romance about a 17-year-old girl unhappily betrothed to a wealthy man. When her secret lover, an impoverished construction worker, decides to leave Dakar for a better life, she becomes haunted by his (lack of) presence. Netflix.
The 13th Amendment of 1865 claimed to have abolished slavery, but the industrial prison complex is cruelly keeping involuntary servitude alive and well. From Jim Crow laws to the moral and policy failure known as the War on Drugs to mass incarceration, Ava DuVernay's Oscar-nominated documentary explores the crucial intersection of race and justice. Netflix.
This coming-of-age film by Portrait of a Lady on Fire director Céline Sciamma tells the story of Marieme, an alienated Black French 16-year-old living in a Paris suburb. When a group of fellow Black girls invites her to spend the day with them, Marieme feels she's finally found a community, but their penchant for fighting rivals threatens to undermine her new relationships. Criterion Channel, Kanopy, YouTube.