The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
2015, Anna Rose Holmer, USA, 72 min. With Royalty Hightower, Alexis Neblett.
"The Fits inspires conversation. We need more films like it." — Sheila O'Malley, RogerEbert.com
"The miracle of the movie is that, like Toni, it transcends blunt, reductive categorization ... Any uplift that you may feel won’t come from having your ideas affirmed, but from something ineluctable — call it art." — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"All ups with no downs, it’s a motion picture in the truest sense of the term. I’ve never seen anything quite like it and I loved every one of its 72 minutes." — Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
A quiet African American girl on the cusp of adolescence looks for solidarity in a dance drill team but finds herself a childish outsider to the rites of womanhood in this drama marked by startling and mysterious bursts of beauty amid the urban harshness of a Midwestern city. Eleven-year-old Toni (Hightower) tags along with her older brother to work out at the community center, but is mesmerized by the powerful strutting routines of the Lionesses in an adjacent gym. With an uncanny sense of rhythm and motion, first-time director Holmer captures girlish yearning and rivalry, and something more, when one by one, the members of the team fall victim to unexplained tremors and fits of fainting, and only Toni is spared. DCP digital. (BS)
La noire de…
1965, Ousmane Sembene, Senegal, 65 min. With Mbissine Thérèse Diop.
★★★★ "A complex and passionate intelligence is shaping the meaning in every scene...There are few endings in all of cinema as powerful and rich as this." — Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"A masterpiece...One of those works of art that is at once powerfully of its moment and permanently contemporary." — A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Sembene's first feature made a profound impression at several international film festivals in 1966; the evolution of African cinema can be dated from that point. Filmed in a fresh, freewheeling style reminiscent of the early New Wave, it tells a direct, bitter story of exile and despair that never loses sight of its central theme: the myth of decolonization. The heroine, Diouana (Diop), is a Senegalese maid taken to the Riviera by her employers. It is only when she is out of Africa that she realizes what being an African now means: it means being a thing, no longer Diouana but "the black girl belonging to..." New 4K DCP digital restoration. In French with English subtitles. (MR)