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Director: Khalik Allah
Presented by: Khalik Allah
2018, USA, 77 Minutes, DCP
Khalik Allah’s first documentary, Field Niggas (MdFF 2015), was an extraordinary chronicle of the people who flow through an iconic corner of Harlem during multiple summer nights. Constructed using formal photographic portraiture technique, and forging new documentary filmmaking ground, Allah pulled the viewer intimately close to individuals that most of the world ignores.
For his latest film, Allah focuses on the Caribbean island of Jamaica, the homeland of his mother, and a place he’s visited regularly since his youth. He knows it intimately and embraces its complexity. There isn’t much formal documentary structure, but startling nude images of a pregnant woman delineate the three sections of the film. Using a variety of film formats, and matching sound and image in a hallucinatory manner, Allah digs deep into the Jamaica he knows. The overhang from its horrific colonial past, powerful and sometimes misogynistic sexuality, intense afro-nationalism, and deep-seated communal spirituality, are all part of this island, and in fact feed each other.
The result is a fiercely personal portrayal that is unimaginable in a medium other than film. Often when one travels there is a sense that, though you may have enjoyed yourself and experienced things you never had before, you never really got to know the place. Allah’s unique tribute to the island of his mother and his youth does just the opposite; it gives a bit of insight you could never get just by visiting. (Jed Dietz)
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