Editor’s Pick: Five films the film and TV crew wants to bring you this Black History Month – Epigram | Episode Movies

Evelyn Heis, film and television editor

If I had to describe this film in just one word, it would have to be it stunning. I’ve never seen a film so elaborately made, with beautiful cinematography and a somber color palette that perfectly reflects the tenderness and complexity of the plot. barry jenkins moonlight (2016) is a pure work of art.

Divided into the three basic stages of the protagonist’s life – childhood, adolescence and adulthood – the story follows Chiron: an introverted, queer black boy who has yet to come to terms with his sexuality.

Chiron (played by Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes in each of the developmental stages) lives with his addicted mother, Paula (Naomie Harris), who neglects, abuses, and yells homophobic slurs, in a rough, crime-ridden neighborhood with her own son. With no support system at home and constant harassment at school, Chiron eventually finds sanctuary in the home of Juan (Mahershala Ali), an Afro-Cuban drug dealer, and his girlfriend Teresa (Janelle Monae), who take him in as if he were their own son who offers comfort and shelter.

Mahershala Ali and Alex R. Hibbert in moonlight (2016) // Courtesy of IMDB

moonlight (2016) is not your typical coming-of-age tale, which unveils the complex and heartbreaking struggles of withdrawn individuals whose surroundings forbid them from being themselves. It’s a heartbreaking story, but the brilliant acting and cinematography inevitably help you connect with its characters: you, too, feel like Chiron as you navigate the world.

Chiron is just one of those characters who deserve the biggest hugs, and with Jenkins’ brilliant writing setting everything up through Act III, you’ll be rooting for Chiron and wondering if things will finally get better for him in adulthood.

I cannot recommend this film highly enough, both for its beautiful message and delivery and for its captivating cinematography.

moonlight (2016) // Photo by David Bornfriend, courtesy of IMDB

jake tickle, Assistant film and television editor

My pick this month is The bodyguard (1992) starring Whitney Houston in one of my all-time favorite movies. This film follows Whitney Houston’s character Rachel Marron, a famous singer with a… passionate fan base. When one of her fans becomes increasingly obsessed with her, Rachel reluctantly hires a bodyguard named Frank Farmer (Kevin Costner).

Thus begins a beautiful and harrowing film about love, family, celebrity culture – reflecting Houston’s own celebrity – and, of course, music. The film is packed with some of Whitney Houston’s best hits, including “I Will Always Love You,” “I Have Nothing,” and “Run To You.” Houston’s singing performance in this film is simply sublime and cements her as one of the greatest singers who ever lived.

Whitney Houston in The bodyguard (1992) // Photo by Warner Bros., courtesy of IMDB

In the past when I asked some of my friends if they had seen this movie, so many of them said they had never heard of it but recognized some of the songs that were in the movie. I’m taking this opportunity now to tell you to check it out.

With the upcoming Whitney biopic coming out in November and Black History Month coming up in October, there really is no better time to watch this film and appreciate one of the greatest black voices out there.

Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston will be there The bodyguard (1992) // Photo by Warner Bros., courtesy of IMDB

Amelie Jacob, Film & TV Digital Editor

Watch after Waves (2019) was an almost religious experience for me for the first time. Huddled on a sofa under a blanket, rain pelting the windows outside, the film was played on a projector by my friend while I sat fascinated.

A colorful dreamscape of manatees, nails painted with fluorescent orange polish, a stormy sky, the ripples you can make out in the distant air when the sun is hot enough to scorch. waves is an optical perfection, bottled like the Florida sun.

The film contains two different narratives centered around a family in the Miami suburbs. These two stories are very juxtaposed: one so sad it hurts your throat and the other so sweet you can taste it for days afterwards.

Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Alexa Demie present waves (2019) // Photo by A24, courtesy of IMDB

The stressful, cacophonous first half chronicles the ill-fated relationship between Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) and Alexis (Alexa Demie), whose passion is thwarted by an unexpected event that eventually leads to tragedy. Tyler’s relationship with his father Ronald (Sterling K. Brown) is also strained, with what Harrison himself described as the “pressure on young black boys to be their best.”

After a landmark event threatens to tear the Williams family apart, wavesThe focus immediately shifts to the emotional aftermath, to Tyler’s sister Emily (Taylor Russell in her breakout role). From here the film undergoes a tonal shift as we watch Emily slowly fall in love with the shy, unassuming Luke (Lucas Hedges) and embark on a road trip across the country.

One of the misleading descriptions of the film online is that it is a musical. It is not. Rather, contemporary R&B, rap and alternative music plays in the background almost constantly, increasing or decreasing in tempo depending on the action and conflict. It’s an undeniably sad film, but full of wonder, and I highly recommend you experience it for yourself.

Taylor Russell a waves (2019) // Photo by A24, courtesy of IMDB

Kalila Smith, Film and TV Research Editor

My pick for Black History Month is one that has broken the glass ceiling socially: Hidden Numbers (2016). I remember on release everyone felt like their blinders were off as we tirelessly debated the three hidden heroines of America’s space race: it was a proud moment for the film community.

Hidden Numbers Loosely based on the true story of three African American women – Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) and Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) – who endured an unfathomable level of discrimination in the workplace in the ’60s.

The film is purposely not subtle in its narrative, its purpose being to tell the story as it really was, a feat that can be difficult to accomplish successfully.

Taraji P. Henson in Hidden Numbers (2016) // Photo by Hopper Stone/Hopper Stone, 20th Century Fox Film Corporationcourtesy of IMDB

The music was a significant aspect of the film, with Pharrell Williams composing many of the tracks and both Monae and Williams being the main artists on the soundtrack. The music incorporates elements of jazz, deep southern soul, and gospel music, lending energy to the film while also becoming an understated celebration of music genres that originated in African-American communities.

Johnson, the main heroine, must have been an impressive woman in the ’60s when she became the first black woman to join Al Harrison’s Space Task Group for the launch of Friendship 7 and later tracked trajectories for Apollo 11 and Space Shuttle missions . One scene that strikes an emotional chord is when Johnson Harrison delivers a long-awaited monologue, explaining that every break from work she walks half a mile to use the nearest bathroom that accepts African American women.

Each heroine of the trio has her moment in the spotlight as we watch them gradually transform from mathematicians to agitators. Hidden Numbers is one of the few films that roughly unpacks intersectionality as an individual experience and as a very complex form of oppression. As a historian, I cannot recommend this film more highly.

Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe in Hidden Numbers (2016) // Photo by Hopper Stone/Hopper Stone, 20th Century Fox Film Corporationcourtesy of IMDB

Claire Meakins, Film and television critic and editor

Located on the outskirts of N’Djamena, Lingui, the sacred bindings (2021) is a quiet but effective film about the relationship between mother and daughter.

Amina (Achouackh Abakar) is a single mother who, despite being despised by her community, works tirelessly to provide better opportunities for her 15-year-old daughter, Maria (Rihane Kalil Alio). When Maria unexpectedly becomes pregnant and wants an abortion, the two must work together to overcome the financial, legal, and religious obstacles that stand in Maria’s way.

language (2021) // Courtesy of IMDB

While this might sound like a tragic and devastating watch, that’s not quite the case. Director Mahamat-Salet Haroun certainly doesn’t shy away from the dark sides of the story, but also ensures that moments of joy and community shine through. Despite the difficult subject language has moments that are truly heartwarming.

The cinematography is absolutely stunning, every shot feels deliberate and rich in detail. Shots of the city perfectly capture its bustle and vibrancy, while the darker scenes make great use of shadow, texture and a muted color palette.

Most notably, however, the film celebrates female solidarity against oppressive societal structures. The bond between Maria and Amina is beautifully portrayed, as are the relationships between the film’s other female characters, who carelessly look out for one another at great personal risk. As a result, languageAddressing the issue of women’s reproductive rights is incredibly relevant, impactful and unforgettable.

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What movie would you recommend someone to watch this Black History Month?

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