The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
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)
2015, Cyrus Dowlatshahi, USA, 84 min.
"Richly textured, sometimes flat-out hilarious and at times sobering." – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
"Dowlatshahi listens with a sensitive ear and watches with a highly talented post-vérité gaze." – Ray Pride, Newcity
Chicago’s South Side is rarely portrayed in the media as a place of beauty and positive energy. Ravishingly photographed, TAKIN’ PLACE colorfully captures the aura of the Washington Park and Englewood neighborhoods from the chaos of a joyous Fourth of July in the streets to girl talk in the intimate confines of a beauty salon. Director Dowlatshahi, whose career encompasses work for Al-Jazeera, National Geographic, and the Discovery Channel, takes a fly-on–the-wall approach to discovering everyday life and culture on the South Side in all its glorious diversity and complexity. DCP digital. (BS)