The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
2014, Zeresenay Mehari, Ethiopia/USA, 99 min. With Meron Getnet, Tizita Hagere.
"Compelling … authentic and affecting … a dramatic yet nuanced window into a culture we almost never see." – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"An important story told with commitment.” – Trevor Johnston, Time Out London
Fourteen year-old Hirut is kidnapped and raped on her way home from school, a brutal event considered an accepted prelude to a marriage proposal in rural Ethiopia. When she momentarily gains control of her attacker’s gun and kills him, the authorities in this male-dominated, tradition-bound society demand her execution. Executive-produced by Angelina Jolie and Black Harvest filmmaker Lacey Schwartz (LITTLE WHITE LIE),, DIFRET dramatically reenacts a true story, as one woman, a lawyer, comes forward to aggressively protect and defend the girl in the face of the reality that no Ethiopian woman has ever been exonerated for killing a man in self defense. In Amharic with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
A Ballerina's Tale
2015, Nelson George, USA, 85 min. With Misty Copeland.
"Must-see ... Inspirational doesn't begin to describe it." – David Fricke, Rolling Stone
"A moving portrait of Copeland that underscores her triumphs over bodily and historical limitations." – Amy Brady, Village Voice
“Where are all the Black Swans?” asked a New York Times article in 2007. Ballet is one of the last bastions of white supremacy, and its Jackie Robinson is the immensely talented Misty Copeland. Director George, a noted cultural critic (“Hip Hop America”) as well as an award-winning filmmaker (LIFE SUPPORT), combines context with closeness in this engrossing documentary portrait. The film traces the history and causes of ballet’s overwhelming whiteness while following Misty’s far-from-smooth progress from underprivileged childhood, late start as a novice dancer, and struggles with isolation and eating disorder, as she rises through the ranks of the American Ballet Theatre in a bid to become its first African American principal dancer. A particular milestone is her 2012 triumph in “The Firebird,” but an injury suffered during that performance puts her future in doubt as she faces a grueling and uncertain path to recovery. DCP digital. (MR)