U.S. Dramatic Centerpiece: Mississippi Damned
(USA, 2009, 120 mins)
SCR: Tina Mabry
Alternately steeped in joy and despair, MISSISSIPPI DAMNED is a stark chronicle of the bravery inherent in hopelessness. In fact, writer/director Tina Mabry's remarkably assured debut remains relentlessly uplifting even as it tracks the monumental struggles of an African-American family sunk into a quagmire of addiction, poverty and abuse. As the years pass and the disappointments mount, the characters still summon the courage to dream.
Mabry's film succeeds because she grounds it in a strong sense of place, in this case the rural barrens of Mississippi. Adding to the memorable tone are the excellent production design and Bradford Young's gorgeous, seemingly tea-stained cinematography. The large ensemble cast distinguishes themselves as well, ably populating a sprawling narrative that covers more than twenty years and is a veritable almanac of dysfunction. Especially notable is Chastity Kershall Hammitte's heartbreaking portrayal of young lesbian Leigh, whose fantasy of escape and coming out is doomed by her commitments to her family.
Achingly beautiful in its easy familiarity with heartbreak, MISSISSIPPI DAMNED proves that little victories can triumph over enormous tragedies.
- Jon Korn, Programmer
Tue, Jul 14th 8:00pm
If you like this film, try these:
(France , Spain , Argentina , 2009, 96mins)