Sorry to Bother You is one crazy piece of theater. The crazy works. It delivers a powerful punch in an imaginative package. Written and directed by Boots Riley, this is a tale about class, race, greed, exploitation, and love. Boots Riley is one of those fresh voices in American cinema people are always talking about. Continue reading “Review: Sorry to Bother You”
A couple of decades ago I realized everything in my life up to that point had been determined by men. I can hear my friend Denise shouting, “It’s the patriarchy, stupid!” That’s not it – at least not completely. The patriarchy is still with us. But inside my head, things have changed. Continue reading “A Personal Manifesto”
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers from director Angelina Jolie is a child’s experience of the genocide in Cambodia during the reign of the Khmer Rouge. Continue reading “Review: First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers”
I spent last week at a conference in Ghost Ranch, NM. The conference, called Wisdom Sharing, featured Alice Walker, Gloria Steinem and Dr. Chung Hyun Kyung. The marvelous moderator, shown on the left above, was Dr. Melanie Harris.
The location is stunning in its beauty and spirit. The women who were the star attractions were brilliant – powerful speakers, activists for women’s rights, funny, and centered in a forceful but calm wisdom. It was one of the best weeks of my life. My photos are on Flickr.
In addition to the many talks, wisdom circles, and other activities, we watched 3 documentary films. (Trailers for the 3 films are below.)
The first evening was the film Jesus and Buddha which features Dr. Chung Hyun Kyung who is a lay theologian of the Presbyterian Church of Korea, and is also an Associate Professor of Ecumenical Theology at Union Theological Seminary in the U.S. Plus, she’s a Buddhist. Or as she put it, it was both predestination and karma that brought her to Ghost Ranch and her friendship with the other extraordinary speakers.
The film for the next evening was Beauty in Truth, a documentary about the life of Alice Walker. The film was written and directed by Pratibha Parmar, who was also present at the conference. That’s her below, listening to one of the speakers. (I reviewed Beauty in Truth earlier this year.) Parmar worked with Alice Walker on the book Warrior Marks: Female Genital Mutilation and the Sexual Blinding of Women and the ensuing 1993 film Warrior Marks.
The last film we watched was Miss Representation. This film was partly supported by The Women’s Media Center and featured Gloria Steinem. It is about how women and girls are portrayed in the media. The Miss Representation website has many resources and ideas if you are interested in learning more or taking action.
Beauty in Truth and Miss Representation are both available from various streaming sources and are available for screenings in schools or gatherings. PBS broadcast Beauty in Truth and keeps it available. You can get DVD’s of Jesus and Buddha from Old Dog Documentaries.
Jesus and Buddha
Beauty in Truth
Beauty in Truth, a film by Pratibha Parmar, is a documentary about American writer and activist Alice Walker.
Predisposed to love it would be a good description of my attitude toward the film. I’m a lifelong admirer of Alice Walker. I have a tendency to finish her books and turn back to page 1 and start reading again. She’s an extraordinary soul – a beautiful soul – who has given so much to the planet. I respect her, I value her brilliance, I see so much wisdom and spiritual guidance in work. Her life is an inspiration.
Everyone should see Beauty in Truth. Everyone who is cares about American history. Everyone who cares about justice anywhere on the planet. Everyone with an interest in writing and storytelling.
Indeed, my recommendation of the film is enthusiastic and heartfelt.
Pratibha Parmar wrote, directed and produced the film. She first worked with Alice Walker after the release of Possessing the Secret of Joy, Walker’s novel about female genital mutilation. The Beauty in Truth website explains,
1993 Pratibha released her most challenging film Warrior Marks, which documented female genital mutilation at a time when the subject was taboo globally. This award-winning documentary was made in collaboration with the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker. Parmar and Walker collaborated on the book Warrior Marks – Female Genital Mutilation and the Sexual Blinding of Women, which documented the making of the film.
Beauty in Truth documents Alice Walker’s life from her upbringing in rural Georgia to the present day. It uses interviews, conversations with Alice, quotations from her poems and books, historical video footage, news reports and video and personal images supplied by Alice Walker to create the story of a writer and activist who is known worldwide.
The particularities and struggles of Alice Walker’s life reflect with universal truth on the Civil Rights Movement, on the women’s movement, on the gay rights movement, and movements for justice all around the globe. Her struggles and the reaction of the American people to them are not just a story about her but a story about the American character. Her writing and her activism create change that affects us all.
Alice Walker has been honored as a writer with a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for The Color Purple as well as numerous other awards and honors for her writing and humanitarianism. This film honors the life she’s lived as a human being with an ability to understand and speak for truth and justice.
The film is available for streaming on PBS if you act soon. A screening schedule is available on the film website, and the film can be booked for showing in schools. (PBS LearningMedia provides four video-based educational components are available for teachers of grades 9-12 to download for free. University level instructors can sign up to be notified when materials for their level are available. Instructions are on the website.)
Other People’s Opinions: A Few Reactions from Twitter
I saw quite a few tweets about the film when it first aired on PBS last week. I thought you might be interested in the reactions of a few other people as well.
— Mahlet (@Mahlet_S) February 8, 2014
The Color Purple is one of the first books ppl accepted as “universal” despite not being White or hegemonic. Matters. #BeautyInTruth
— Trudy (@thetrudz) February 8, 2014
— Ben (@BenReadsALot) February 8, 2014
— C.L.M. (@onceuponapoet) February 8, 2014
— Ericka (@designsofzuri) February 8, 2014
— W.L. Lewis (@ArtMusicLife) February 8, 2014
— Arnesa (@_arnesa_) February 8, 2014