Author Topic: 12 Years a Slave  (Read 14640 times)

Offline Marvelous

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12 Years a Slave
« on: September 06, 2013, 07:03:28 pm »


"2. IF YOU DON'T READ THE BOOK BUT ARE WILLING TO ARGUE ABOUT IT EITHER YOU ARE:
a) An idiot who doesn't know what he's talking about.
b) A liar who is a fan who can't admit it to himself or others."

The_Scribe

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2013, 08:47:49 pm »
Ah!  Good!  We have begun to educate again while we entertain.  Maybe the next jury will understand. 

Offline Maxine Shaw

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2013, 02:24:04 pm »
First day, first showing. Hopefully it'll be a midnight show.
She wanted attention and that's what she got. - more words of wisdom from HEF's favorite rape apologist TripleX

Offline Marvelous

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2013, 03:35:52 pm »
Brad Pitt on 12 Years a Slave: "If I Never Get to Participate in a Film Again, This Is it for Me"

Let the 2014 Oscar race begin! Just one week after Brad Pitt's 12 Years a Slave debuted at the Telluride Film Festival, the film made its official premiere at the Toronto International Festival Festival Friday night, already gaining a substantial amount of Oscar buzz.

The film is based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man, who was abducted and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War. Pitt both produced and played a supporting role in the film as Steve McQueen directed.

Pitt expressed his gratitude for the rave reviews in a Q&A after the premiere. "I just have to say, if I never get to participate in a film again, this is it for me," the 49-year-old actor said. "It was a privilege."

Pitt wore his long hair pulled back in a pony tail for the event, and seemed in great spirits throughout the evening. When asked about the Oscar buzz on the red carpet he quipped, "They all deserve it, everyone of these performances is worthy."

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, 36, who plays the lead role, also has high hopes for the film. "We'll see. We've gotten the film this far," he told Us Weekly of the Oscar buzz. "I think at the moment I feel really proud of the film and Steve McQueen has done an extraordinary job. It's an amazing array of people who are involved with this film, actors and beyond. The fact that we're at this point any way is amazing. It's everything."

Following the much applauded premiere, the cast -- including Michael Fassbender and Paul Giamatti -- hit downtown Toronto to celebrate, first with a cast dinner at Hudson Kitchen followed by an impromptu late night party at The Thompson Hotel, where Bunglow 8 and Amy Sacco has created an after hours destination for the stars. There, inside a specially made VIP area, Brad, Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch enjoyed the rooftop view and a few well-deserved cocktails.


"2. IF YOU DON'T READ THE BOOK BUT ARE WILLING TO ARGUE ABOUT IT EITHER YOU ARE:
a) An idiot who doesn't know what he's talking about.
b) A liar who is a fan who can't admit it to himself or others."

Offline Marvelous

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2013, 03:40:24 pm »
Toronto: ’12 Years a Slave’ Leaves Another Festival Audience Shake

Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” came to Toronto on Friday night, and it left audiences in the same state they were in after it screened in Telluride last week: drained, shaken and on their feet cheering.

Playing to a standing ovation at the Princess of Wales theater, the Fox Searchlight release had no trouble continuing the momentum it had gained in Colorado. The movie, based on the true story of Solomon Northrup, a free black man from New York who in 1841 was abducted and sold into slavery, is as formidable as Telluride reports indicated — a brutal, scorching and unflinching work that is hard to watch and will no doubt be harder to forget.

In the Q&A that followed the screening, McQueen responded succinctly to the question of why he chose to tackle a subject that hasn’t been covered in many serious films.

“It was a no-brainer,” said the British director, whose previous films were “Hunger” and “Shame.” “I just wanted to see … that history, that story on film. It was important and obvious. It’s that simple.”

Added Brad Pitt, who appears in the film and also served as one of the producers through his Plan B production company, “Steve is the first to ask the big question — why have there not been more films about the American history of slavery? It was the big question, and it took a Brit to ask it.”

As for the graphic scenes of beatings, floggings and hangings, breakout star Lupita Nyong’o said, “It was hard to go there, but it was necessary.”

A huge crowd jammed the sidewalk across the street from the theater, though a few seemed to be laboring under the misapprehension that because a huge banner for “Gravity” hung over the marquee, they might see George Clooney or Sandra Bullock climbing out of a town car or festival SUV. They were happy to make do with Pitt, Michael Fassbender, certain Best Actor nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor and others, and the scene reinforced that it’s not opening night that really matters in Toronto, it’s Friday.

While the opening night film, Bill Condon’s “The Fifth Estate,” was a solid drama with an outside chance of figuring into the awards race, TIFF’s first-night slot is not typically occupied by a major Oscar movie, (Past occupants of the spot include last year’s “Looper,” the U2 documentary “From the Sky Down” and “Score! A Hockey Musical.”)

But Friday is a different story. The Night 2 slot is where “Argo” premiered last year, “The King’s Speech” before that.

“12 Years” wasn’t actually the night’s biggest gala – a block away from the Princess of Wales, in the larger Roy Thomson Hall, Jonathan Teplitzky’s “The Railway Man,” with Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, made its debut and left festival-goers in the post-screening crush comparing notes about the films. (Both got sidewalk raves; TheWrap will have a report on “The Railway Man” later in the festival.)

And “Railway Man” was followed at Roy Thomson by a late screening of “Parkland,” writer-director Peter Landesman’s drama about the three days following the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963.

The film is named after the hospital where both Kennedy and his assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, died – although when he introduced the film, Landesman insisted, “‘Parkland’ is more than a place, it’s a state of mind – it’s where dreams go to die.”

The film wasn’t as ponderous as the quote, though its view of history through the eyes of the doctors, nurses, witnesses, cops and family members who observed it starts to slack off and feel scattershot once it gets past the kinetic and occasionally affecting scenes of doctors trying frantically to save Kennedy.

Many of the large cast were present onstage at Roy Thomson Hall, and it was amusing to see that while Zac Efron got the most squeals, Paul Giamatti got the most sustained applause. (He’d also been across the street at “12 Years a Slave.”)

The most haunting presence in the movie is probably James Badge Dale as Lee Harvey Oswald’s brother, while the typically reliable Jacki Weaver is downright distracting as Oswald’s mother.

If the day ended with the back-to-back punch of slavery and assassination, it began with industry screenings and two lighter and more delightful films, both due for upcoming release from Sony Classics.

There’s something quietly magical about “The Lunchbox,” the first feature from Ritesh Batra, whose short film “Cafe Regular, Cairo” won the jury prize at TheWrap’s ShortList Film Festival. Set in the intriguing and baffling world of the illiterate men who deliver thousands of lunchboxes from wives to their husbands’ offices every day in Mumbai, it follows a rare misdelivered box that forges an unlikely connection between a widower on the verge of retirement (Irfan Khan) and a housewife trapped in a bad marriage (Nimrat Kaur).

The film flirts with romantic-comedy clichés but never succumbs to them, fashioning a thoroughly charming blend of comedy and drama undercut with enough melancholy to give to a real emotional punch. India would do well to submit it in this year’s Oscar race – it’s the kind of film that could easily win the favor of the general committee voters.

A possible contender in the documentary field, meanwhile, is “Tim’s Vermeer,” a doc directed by magician Teller and produced and narrated by his partner Penn Jillette. It’s not damning it with faint praise to call it the most wildly entertaining movie ever made about watching paint dry.

Its subject is Tim Jenison, an inventor whose success in the TV and video industries has given him the money to indulge in any number of whims, fancies and passions. Jenison was so intrigued by theories of how 17th Century artists may have used early technology like the camera obscura that he came up with his own, more complicated explanation for how Vermeer obtained his almost photo-realistic effects. The Dutch artist, he speculated, may have gone beyond the simple camera obscura to incorporate a mirror that makes extreme detail and precision easier to obtain.

To prove that his process could work, Jenison embarked on a three-year mission to paint a Vermeer by recreating the artist’s studio in a Texas warehouse, and using technology that would have been available at the time.

Jenison is brilliant, obsessed and more than a little crazy, which makes him a great subject for a documentary as smart and skeptical as you might expect from Penn and Teller.

The film inevitably slows down when Jenison moves into the second half of his 130-day painting process — but then, Jenison slowed down, too. In the end, “Tim’s Vermeer” makes a convincing and provocative argument that a 21st century tech whiz who can play “Smoke on the Water” on a viola de gamba just might have figured out how Vermeer did it.


"2. IF YOU DON'T READ THE BOOK BUT ARE WILLING TO ARGUE ABOUT IT EITHER YOU ARE:
a) An idiot who doesn't know what he's talking about.
b) A liar who is a fan who can't admit it to himself or others."

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2013, 05:32:18 am »
incredible filmmaking, acting, storytelling.....it's a must see movie.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2013, 09:14:15 am »
October 11, 2013
An Essentially American Narrative
Interviews by NELSON GEORGE
Amid comic book epics, bromantic comedies and sequels of sequels, films about America’s tortured racial history have recently emerged as a surprisingly lucrative Hollywood staple. In the last two years, “The Help,” “Lincoln,""Django Unchained,""42” and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” have performed well at the box office, gathering awards in some cases and drawing varying degrees of critical acclaim.

The latest entry in this unlikely genre is “12 Years a Slave,” the director Steve McQueen’s adaptation of Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir. A free black man living in Saratoga, N.Y., Northup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) was kidnapped in 1841 and sold into brutal servitude in the Deep South. During his ordeal, he labors at different plantations, including the one owned by the sadistic Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), who has a tortured sexual relationship with the slave Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o).

Following a buzzed-about preview screening at the Telluride Film Festival and the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival, “12 Years a Slave” arrives in theaters Friday amid much online chatter that it may be headed for Oscar nominations. But Mr. Ejiofor, who portrays Northup, and Mr. McQueen, known for the bracingly austere “Hunger” and “Shame,” both say that getting audiences to see an uncompromisingly violent and quietly meditative film about America’s “peculiar institution” is still a challenge even with the presence of a producer, Brad Pitt, in a small role.

While the material was developed by Americans (including the screenwriter John Ridley) the director and most of the major cast members are British, a topic of concern among some early black commentators.

On a sweltering afternoon in SoHo last month, the author and filmmaker Nelson George led a round-table discussion at the Crosby Street Hotel with Mr. Ejiofor and Mr. McQueen. Joining them to provide a wider historical and artistic context were the Columbia University professor Eric Foner, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery,” among other books; and the artist Kara Walker, whose room-size tableaus of the Old South employing silhouettes have redefined how history and slavery are depicted in contemporary art and influenced many, including the “12 Years a Slave” production team. Current civil rights issues including the New York police practice of stop and frisk, recently declared unconstitutional; sexuality and slavery; Hollywood’s version of American history; and the themes of Obama-era cinema were among the topics of the sharp but polite dialogue. These are excerpts from the conversation.

Q. I wanted to start with contemporary analogues. One thing that came to mind was stop and frisk, a way the New York City police could stop a black or Latino male. I thought of Solomon as a character who, for a lot of contemporary audiences, would be that young black person. [To Mr. McQueen and Mr. Ejiofor] When you were seeking a way into the slave story, was what happens now part of that?

Steve McQueen Absolutely. History has a funny thing of repeating itself. Also, it’s the whole idea of once you’ve left the cinema, the story continues. Over a century and a half to the present day. I mean, you see the evidence of slavery as you walk down the street.

What do you mean?

McQueen The prison population, mental illness, poverty, education. We could go on forever.

Chiwetel, how did you balance what’s going on in the world with [Northup’s] reality?

Chiwetel Ejiofor That wasn’t the approach for me. I was trying to tell the story of Solomon Northup as he experienced his life. He didn’t know where all this was going. My journey started finishing a film in Nigeria. The last day, I went to the slave museum in Calabar, which was four or five rooms and some books, some interesting drawings of what they thought happened to people when the boats took them over. I left the following day and came to Louisiana. In my own way, I traveled that route.

Professor, your reaction to the film, its place in the contemporary discussion about slavery.

Eric Foner I believe this is a piece of history that everybody — black, white, Asian, everybody — has to know. You cannot understand the United States without knowing about the history of slavery. Having said that, I don’t think we should go too far in drawing parallels to the present. Slavery was a horrific institution, and it is not the same thing as stop and frisk. In a way, putting it back to slavery takes the burden off the present. The guys who are acting in ways that lead to inequality today are not like the plantation owner. They’re guys in three-piece suits. They’re bankers who are pushing African-Americans into subprime mortgages.

Kara, what are your thoughts on this?

Kara Walker There’s a uniquely American exuberance for violence or an exuberance for getting ahead in the world and making a name for themselves. I’m talking about the sort of plantation class that fought for the entrenchment of the slave system. That’s not something that can be overlooked when you think about the mythology of what it means to be an American, that one can become a self-made man if one is white and male and able.

Foner One of the things I liked about the movie and the way it portrayed violence, it’s pretty hard to take sometimes. But what it really highlights is the capriciousness of it. The owners, at one moment they’re trying to be pleasant, and the next moment they’re whipping you. You’re always kind of on this edge of not knowing. In fact slavery is like that at large. You don’t know when you’re going to be sold away from your family. People like to have some kind of stability in their life, but you can’t as a slave.

Servitude and Sexuality

There’s a lot of things to say about sex in the film, but one of the things that is going to leap out is Alfre Woodard’s character [Mistress Shaw, described in the book as the black wife of a white plantation owner].

McQueen In the book, she doesn’t say anything. I had a conversation with John Ridley, and I said: “Look, we need a scene with this woman. I want her to have tea.” It was very simple. Give her a voice.

Walker It’s not that it was that uncommon. That planter would be sort of the crazy one, the eccentric one, and she’s getting by.


Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
From left, Mr. Ejiofor and Mr. McQueen.
Ejiofor It was against the law to marry, but it did happen.

Foner There were four million slaves in the U.S. in 1860 and several hundred thousand slave owners. It wasn’t just a homogeneous system. It had every kind of human variation you can imagine. There were black plantation owners in Louisiana, black slave owners.

Walker I was going to ask a question about a black woman who appears, a mysterious woman Solomon has sex with. She has sex with him, rather. I thought she was going to be a character in the film, and then she wasn’t.

McQueen Slaves are working all day. Their lives are owned, but those moments, they have to themselves. I just wanted a bit of tenderness — the idea of this woman reaching out for sexual healing in a way, to quote Marvin Gaye. She takes control of her own body. Then after she’s climaxed, she’s back where she was. She’s back in hell, and that’s when she turns and cries.

Solomon has a wife beforehand. In the film it seems as if he lived with Eliza [a fellow slave]. Then obviously [he has] some kind of relationship with Patsey, a friendship. But I wondered about Solomon’s own sexual expression.

Ejiofor His sexuality felt slightly more of a tangent. I think the real story is where sex is in terms of power.

Foner Remember, this book is one of the most remarkable first-person accounts of slavery. But it’s also a piece of propaganda. It’s written to persuade people that slavery needs to be abolished. He doesn’t say anything about sexual relations he may have had as a slave. There’s no place for such a discussion because of the purpose of the book.

Walker But in “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” [by Harriet Ann Jacobs] and other slave narratives written by women, that’s always kind of the subtext, because there are children that are produced, relationships that are formed or allegiances that are formed with white men in order to have freedom.

Foner Harriet Jacobs was condemned by many people for revealing this, even antislavery people.

Walker Yes, but it’s always the subtext. Even “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” It’s like, there’s little mulatto children, and that’s the evidence.

Unlike most American directors, you’re not cutting all over the place. You put the camera there, and you let us experience the moment that is part of the lore of America, the slave master raping the black female slave [Patsey].

McQueen I didn’t want people to get out of it. Within that you see his actual love for her in a way. Obviously, the love isn’t given back to him, and it’s a horrendous rape.

Walker Staying on that scene and coming back to Patsey over and over, she is abused and deteriorating and wanting to die. We don’t need to see that scene over and over again.

McQueen I have huge sympathy for Epps, though. He’s in love with this woman and he doesn’t understand it. Why is he in love with this slave? He goes about trying to destroy his love for her by destroying her. The madness starts.

A View From Abroad

One of the things that has come up in early response to the film is a question from some black folks in America about the perspective, the fact that you are both foreigners, as it were.

Walker It will never be right for the black folks in America, I’m sorry. You can say it’s a historical document ——

McQueen Can I jump in there, please? I am British. My parents are from Grenada. My mother was born in Trinidad. Grenada is where Malcolm X’s mother comes from. Stokely Carmichael is Trinidadian. We could go on and on. It’s about that diaspora.

Ejiofor When I was in Savannah, Ga., they were telling me how they used to have special chains for the Igbos [a Nigerian ethnic group]. I told the man, “I’m Igbo.” Not having any sense of the internationalism of this event is a bad thing. I loved the fact that there were people from different places coming together to tell this story.

McQueen The only thing you can say about it is: Why was this book lost in America?

Foner Obviously, it wasn’t a best seller. Maybe it will be now. But it’s widely known. It’s used all over the place in history courses. Along with Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs, this is probably the most widely read of what we call the slave narratives.

The Past in Hollywood’s Lens

Foner [To McQueen] I think it’s good that you are not a Hollywood director. Most Hollywood history is self-important in a way that this movie is not.

Walker The audience is intelligent. They could actually stand in Solomon’s shoes and go through the adventure together instead of the kind of voice-over Hollywood black Americana thing. That’s what I’m talking about with ownership. Over the years, you have this kind of heavy-handed style of narration. Cicely Tyson comes out with the makeup on and tells her story in “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.”

Can I bring up those heavy-handed Hollywood movies, since we’re on that topic? “Lincoln” as well as, obviously, “Django.” It seems like in the last few years, there have been black historical dramas that have been made out of Hollywood. We can throw in “The Help,” “The Butler.” There’s one theory that this is all a reaction to Obama’s presidency.

Ejiofor There’s probably not one cause. I’d say that’s true for a couple of those movies. Obama gets elected. People think we haven’t done the Jackie Robinson story yet. And some of these stories are great stories. The received idea has been it doesn’t sell well. But you have a couple of movies do incredibly good business.

Walker But Obama also wrote his autobiography. I think that might be a part of it, not just that there’s a person in power, but that he’s a best-selling author, getting large portions of America — black, white and other — to become a part of his story.

Foner The daddy, I suppose, of all this was “Glory,” which came out in the late ‘80s. “Roots,” of course, comes before that. All of them suffer from what I see as the problem of Hollywood history. Even in this movie, there’s a tendency toward: You’ve got to have one hero or one figure. That’s why historians tend to be a little skeptical about Hollywood history, because you lose the sense of group or mass.

Ejiofor But that’s movies as well.

Walker I was going to disagree a little bit. I didn’t find him particularly heroic, in that Frederick Douglass sense. He’s a little bit more compromised by more than just slavery. There’s this past, what he does or doesn’t do for Patsey. All of that makes him a much more complicated figure in a way.

McQueen I don’t think we should underplay Obama’s presidency and the effect of these films coming to fruition. The problem is: When he’s not the president anymore, will these films still exist?

The Historical Moment

[To the filmmakers] There’s a lot of talk about awards for the film. Is that relevant to you?

Ejiofor I’m always nervous when people start talking about hype and heat. It’s a story about a man who went through something remarkable. I feel like that still deserves its own reflection.

McQueen I made this film because I wanted to visualize a time in history that hadn’t been visualized that way. I wanted to see the lash on someone’s back. I wanted to see the aftermath of that, psychological and physical. I feel sometimes people take slavery very lightly, to be honest. I hope it could be a starting point for them to delve into the history and somehow reflect on the position where they are now.

[To Walker and Foner] What are your feelings about the impact it will have on people?

Walker I’m a sponge for historical images of black people and black history on film. It doesn’t happen often enough, and it doesn’t happen artfully enough most of the time when it does happen. I came away with this really kind of awful sense that I didn’t want to leave. The texture of the film made me want to stay in this space that would not be hospitable to me. Thinking also about who would see the film, I think about my parents, in Georgia. I think about the theater where they will see the film. People will go to the mall to see one of those Tyler Perry films and action films. Would this film make it there, and if it did, would it translate? My hope was that this film would reach that audience down there and have that sort of complicated space open up for them that wasn’t just an easy laugh or an easy cry.

Foner I think this movie is much more real, to choose a word like that, than most of the history you see in the cinema. It gets you into the real world of slavery. That’s not easy to do. Also, there are little touches that are very revealing, like a flashback where a slave walks into a shop in Saratoga. Yes, absolutely, Southerners brought slaves into New York State. People went on vacation, and they brought a slave.

McQueen I think people are ready. With Trayvon Martin, voting rights, the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and a black president, I think there’s a sort of perfect storm of events. I think people actually want to reflect on that horrendous recent past in order to go forward.


 

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2013, 10:35:39 am »
October 11, 2013
An Essentially American Narrative
Interviews by NELSON GEORGE


McQueen The prison population, mental illness, poverty, education. We could go on forever.


YES! We are remembering that artistry is the essential part of our entertainment along with fun.  YES!  Perhaps, our souls are stirring! 

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2013, 05:40:59 pm »
Saw this film today. I thought it was a very good film, but something about it left me a little cold. Fruitvale Station, in comparison, was more emotionally affecting to me. The casting, the acting, the writing in 12 Years were all top notch. I could easily see this film doing well come Oscar time and it would be a shame if many of the cast, the director, and the screenplay don't get nominations.

As I was watching the film I couldn't help but compare it to Django. And while 12 Years used the n-word quite a bit it wasn't as excessive and cheeky as I felt it was in Django. And beyond the n-word there were other words or adjectives used to dehumanize blacks without over reliance on the n-word to appear hip, edgy, or renegade like I felt was done in Django. There were no winks or nods here, no over-the-top demonstrations of the cruelty of slavery. The cruelty was brutal, at times visceral, and there was often a palpable sense of fear for the slaves.

Offline Battle

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2013, 09:31:12 am »
There was some very expressive & enlightening feedback about '12 Years A Slave' on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry from her panel of guests: Prof. Laura Murphy, from Loyola U. New Orleans, commentator Joy Reid, Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture's Khalil Gibran Muhammed, and University of Pennsylvannia's Salamishah Tillet which gives me reason to believe that this movie is something special to look out for.

Even more special considering that the movie was shot on location where the host was raised.


Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2013, 06:12:31 am »

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Greg Tate
16 hours ago ·
RE 12 Years A Slave; The Butler, Fruitvale Station, Blue Caprice (still on the To-Do list w/Newlyweeds): Tis been a great season for Black male annihilation at the movies. And for filmic affirmation of same per Larry Neal's moving observation that '''To be Black in this country is to always Affirm Something.' Being versus Nothingness is how we alway interpreted what Professor Neal meant. Recall Michelle Obama's earliest reply to whether she feared Barack's run. ''“The realities are that as a black man Barack can get shot going to the gas station.'' Then mix in Cornel West's belief 'There are certain things one cannot Not Know as a Black person.'' Toss up what Mrs Obama said, zoom, to top of that list. 'Black misery is overdetermined' Arthur Jafa frequently, half-jokingly sez. Nowadays--with as much thanks to Our Black President's targeted negrocity as anything-- Black male misery has finally attained pop American cinematic currency. Black male directors reporting on same finally has too. Well, least for what remains of this brief POTUS moment. To my bruthas reading this I have to ask, What revelations have you brought home from these recent tragic film-spectacles on being Black, American,male? What newsworthy about the condition our condition been in? Frederick Douglass wrote about having to learn to see American Blackfolk's ways through the eyes of Others to comprehend the culture's depths, especially those heard in The Spirituals. In 12 Years the catchy melody of Roll Jordan Roll supplies what McQueen cannot--the empowering, healing comforts of Black American entanglement. Steve McQueen and Chiwetel Ejiofor's Afropean blackness inflects, and maybe even infects, 12 Years with a built-in double alienation from Our Folk and Our Crackers as well. This allows for a consistent Dis-identification with Our Folk as the other human beings in the frame and an extremely local, rather than global critique of racism, slavery, white supremacy. 'Sympathy for the Devil' is how one friend has characterized what she saw as 12 years obsession with humanizing slavers. In Arthur Jafa's new film-essay-doc Glas Negus Supreme the filmmakers own Delta-bred father, a former educator, states that at 81 he's never met any 'good white people'. A damnation Mr Fielder directs in absentia at 'all those who did nothing to help Black people when they could have'. (The film cuts to Bobby Kennedy wide-eyed and dead on the floor as counterpoint). All this isnt to say I didnt find 12 Years a wrenching, harrowing and engrossing experience with multiple points of craft and light to engage arthouse cinema-dude GT and dude's pop doppelganger. He of the concomitant desire to applaud Black Affirmation--of the filmmaker and his film alike we must confess. (Such is the picklish nature of African American positivism and spectatorship with respect to giving dap to any brutha's Hollywood hustle). Very little I'd say in appreciation of filmmaking prowess, performers,screenwriter John Ridley's taut speechifying, etc isn't already well-worn. Dig Michael Fassbender's acting so much moght haveta stab him in an alley. Know he's sweating bullets they dont give him his first Oscar for rocking this racist rapist sadist role so mean. Chiwetel is a past-master of charming, beleaguered stoicism and tortured wit, a model McQueen protagonist. That said we have caveats: The high bar for artfully re-imaginineering the slavery narrative has been set by the novels of Toni Morrison, Ishmael Reed, Charles Johnson,Octavia Butler and Edward P. Jones, Haile Gerima's film San Kofa and the artwork of Kara Walker. They also all hit you, as Django did, with WTF eruptions in a genre where the misery quotient is so overdetermined as to now be cliche.12 Years works as a big-marquee popcorn movie about slavery because its a classical Hollywood heroic narrative--albeit one in which the most heroic, self-sacrificing actions are those undertaken by good white men. All films drool leakage from their director's troublesome ids.McQueen's tactical feature-career fetishism of Fassbender's body-in-pain deserves its own case study.The film's second historical strong suit may indeed be how it represents enslaved folk outwitting psychopaths with poker-faced ninja guile. (First would be how economically 12 Years depicts it's 'niggers' as billable inventory and whippable robots. ) McQueen's obsessions with weight, flight, death, trajectory, space and entombment in his gallery installations make me wish-upon a version of Gravity to call his own.. Vis-a-vis Alfonso Cuaron's depiction of Black motherhood, fecund and fugitive, as apocalyptic contraband in Children of Men--a germ which suggests what the Mexican might harvest from Butler's Wild Seed. Methinks McQueen demonstrates a clear directorial distaste for Black women who think, pine out-loud, and otherwise freely disturb the catatonic peace in both 12 Years and Shame. The out-the-box relationship between Lupita Nyong'o's whimsical suicidal bohemian-workhorse-rape-survivor Patsey and Alfre Woodard's edgy prophetic concubine-wife Mistress Shaw provides the films greatest flirtation and failure of nerve RE re-inventing the genre. It also points up McQueen's inability to richly imagine American Blackfolk, enslaved AND free, as capable of love, generosity, families, communities, communions of wildly eclectic subjectivities. As more, in other words, than just clusterf*cked, benumbed sidebars to his career-pinnacle version of Northrup's Exceptional Negro saga. Actually love to see bruh work with Katori Hall next time his narrative muse brings him around these shores. GT

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2013, 02:09:47 pm »
^
Could you edit this to make it easier to read? Thanks.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2013, 02:11:54 pm »
^
Could you edit this to make it easier to read? Thanks.
He typed like that in a single long block of text on Facebook, but I'll give it a go.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2013, 04:41:50 pm »

October 28, 2013
The International Fate of ‘12 Years’
By MICHAEL CIEPLY
LOS ANGELES — A darling of the movie awards set, “12 Years a Slave” could make history as the first film by a black director to win the best picture Oscar.

But movie executives and filmmakers are watching closely to see if it can successfully meet another challenge.

The film, which has opened on a few screens in the United States, is trying to become the rare African-American-themed feature to become a hit with the global audience. With few exceptions, black stars and filmmakers — when they tell a specifically African-American story — have found it difficult to penetrate international markets, a significant handicap at a time when foreign audiences regularly account for two-thirds or more of the box-office receipts for Hollywood movies.

With “12 Years a Slave,” the push will be helped by the international cachet of its star, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and director, Steve McQueen, both born in Britain. And it is supported by backers who have positioned the film in a wide range of markets around the world, but, in a calculated bit of timing, are largely delaying its release until early next year. At that point, “12 Years a Slave” will presumably be in the final heat of ferocious awards races, bringing maximum attention to the film as a worldwide audience prepares for the Oscars.

Those advantages, along with the promotional power of Brad Pitt — who appears in the film, is one of its producers and has promised to travel the world to promote it — may be enough to crack one of the industry’s more unyielding market barriers.

Black superstars like Will Smith may accumulate dazzling foreign sales in roles that play down racial identity. And at least one black-white story set in France — “The Intouchables,” from 2011 — became an international hit.

But more usual, even for awards-caliber films, is the experience of “The Help,” a 2011 release that focused on the travails of black maids in the Jim Crow-era South. It was an enormous hit, with worldwide ticket sales of almost $216.7 million, but about 80 percent of that came from domestic markets.

Like westerns and baseball films, movies about the experience of black Americans may be seen as too remote by audiences in countries that have little cultural connection to the subject matter. But black filmmakers have also complained that companies sometimes do not support them with the sort of wide international release that is being lined up for “12 Years a Slave,” which tells a 19th-century tale of a free black man who is kidnapped and sold into slavery.

Stuart Ford, chief executive of IM Global, which sold the foreign distribution rights to another of the season’s African-American films, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” said he had sensed a new responsiveness abroad. “Despite the perceived wisdom that African-American films don’t travel,” he said, “a great movie is a great movie, and great movies are at a premium right now.”

In the past, even a clutch of awards and nominations has not always been enough.

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (2009) is a drama about a young black woman that was directed by Mr. Daniels and received six Oscar nominations, including one for best picture. The foreign box office accounted for only about 31 percent of the film’s approximately $69 million in worldwide sales, according to the Rentrak box office reporting service.

In 2007, eight Oscar nominations and an internationally broadcast awards night performance by the Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson helped lift the foreign box office for “Dreamgirls” to $51.6 million. That accounted for about only a third of its $155 million worldwide total.

An exception was “Django Unchained,” about a revenge-bent former slave, which this year collected $262.6 million from international markets, or almost 62 percent of its $425.4 million in worldwide sales. But the film was firmly rooted in the foreign-friendly action genre and was directed by Quentin Tarantino, who has nonpareil star power and whose previous films had done well overseas.

“12 Years a Slave” can draw some encouragement from “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” a civil rights story that opened here in August. It has not been a runaway hit in foreign markets but has performed solidly, and Mr. Ford said it could take in as much as $50 million, adding to sales of more than $114 million in the United States.

Weak foreign sales have handicapped black moviemakers for years, forcing them to operate with smaller salaries and budgets when they mine the American black experience. (“12 Years a Slave” had a reported production budget of only about $20 million.)

Stephanie Allain, who was a producer of “Hustle & Flow” and, more recently, joined Tyler Perry and others in producing “Peeples,” said African-American films might work better abroad if studios pushed them harder.

“If studios are willing to spend the money to build awareness for black movie stars and directors, black American film culture will travel,” Ms. Allain said in an email.

“More money for studios and more opportunity for us,” she added. “It’s that simple.”

Representatives of Plan B Entertainment and River Road Entertainment, producers of “12 Years a Slave,” declined to discuss their approach to foreign markets. Patrick Wachsberger, co-chairman of the Lionsgate motion picture group, whose Summit Entertainment unit is handling the film’s sale abroad, also declined to comment.

Fox Searchlight, which, in association with Regency Enterprises, is distributing “12 Years a Slave” in the United States, has taken a cautious approach, despite reviews that have already cloaked the movie with an air of “must-see” importance.

This month, the studio opened “12 Years” on only a few screens, carefully mixing some of the customary awards-circuit movie houses with screens that typically draw a heavily black audience. The combination created what box-office observers described as a strong though limited opening, with total receipts of $923,715 from 19 theaters. Total receipts now stand at about $3.4 million.

In 2008, the similarly circumspect debut of “Slumdog Millionaire,” a Fox Searchlight release set in India, paved the way for what eventually became a globe-circling hit (and an Oscar-winning best picture), with $377.9 million in worldwide sales, almost 63 percent of which came from outside North America.

The backers of “12 Years a Slave” are counting on Mr. McQueen’s appeal in his homeland, where previous works of his, like “Hunger” and “Shame” are well known.

“It’s guaranteed, 100 percent, to perform in the United Kingdom” and kindred territories like Australia, said Victor Loewy, a foreign-sales expert who bought British rights to the film in his earlier capacity as the chief executive of Alliance Films. He said he had declined to buy the film for distribution in Canada, where Alliance was based, a decision he now regrets.

Eventually, Mr. Wachsberger’s company patched together an extensive network of foreign buyers in territories as widespread as Germany and Thailand.

If “12 Years a Slave” is to succeed internationally, Mr. Pitt — who can command attention even if scenes of plantation brutality may not — could face substantial globe-trotting next year, as the film meets its potential viewers.

Onstage at the Toronto International Film Festival, where “12 Years a Slave” had a rousing reception in early September, he said he was prepared to do whatever it takes.

“If I never get to participate in a film again,” Mr. Pitt said, “this is it for me.”


 

Offline Battle

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2013, 05:11:11 pm »
If “12 Years a Slave” is to succeed internationally, Mr. Pitt — who can command attention even if scenes of plantation brutality may not — could face substantial globe-trotting next year, as the film meets its potential viewers.

Onstage at the Toronto International Film Festival, where “12 Years a Slave” had a rousing reception in early September, he said he was prepared to do whatever it takes.

“If I never get to participate in a film again,” Mr. Pitt said, “this is it for me.”




This is similar to what Leonardo Dicaprio said after working on 'Django Unchained', that he said he's not gonna do any movies for a while.

What did that experience of telling tales of slavery in America do to these 2 guys???   

...or was the task of doing movie promotions too much for them?