Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pre-viewing Review Of "Precious"

A certain journalist working for the New York Press has come to plenty of people's attention by offering an utterly scathing and critical review about "Precious". Courtesy of the blogs I follow (to the right) that made mention of this review, I got a chance to read what he had to say here:

I have not seen the movie. It's not been released in my region but I am interested of course as I have been for several months now. So there is no stance assumable on my part but I will say that it's box office performance so far is severely impressive. This fact alone may be used by sceptics as a way to evince the Western fascination with black suffering. That a movie about African Americans is only capable of doing this well when it involves the harsh realities of life for those slugging through poverty, physical and sexual abuse, teenage pregnancy and illiteracy as the lead character Precious does. I've pointed this out before. It is banal for whites to play leads in most of the movies that get this much attention. But very rarely do we see a woman of colour get the opportunity and if she does then it is in the most negative light possible. I can see how some may take this strand and use it as a way to denomize the movie. That it only seeks to galvanise the popular view of the black woman as the abused, misused person who needs saving (usually from those with lighter skin as it portrayed in "Precious") from a life destined for doom because of these pathological wounds.

I don't want to dwell to hard on this notion. We know movies perform a tremendous deal of damage in the archetypal images they create. So I will say this instead. As an antithesis to White's criticism of Oprah and Perry. Knowing what I know of the horrendous abuse that there two incredible individuals have encountered, I believe their support for this film emanated from a sincere place within themselves that believes stories such as these need to be told. We need to be reminded through film that the world is rife with stories of this nature and to carry on ignoring them is insensitive and somewhat inhumane. That wehave a movie that explores so deeply the psyche of a woman of colour and affords her a voice so raw, truthful and in-your-face means despite the negative aspects of her life that we can see a level of humanity to a people whose dignity and humanness are often ignored by mainstream society. This is not a representation of African American life. Whoever resorts to that thinking simply lacks rationale. But perhaps there are people who are that ignorant. I can't rule that out.

In all honesty, I am always pleased to hear the suppressed voices in society find a platform. No matter how painful there stories may be and how difficult they are to digest, they need to be told and we need to hear them.

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