Tuesday, August 18, 2015

White Water [2015]

MPAA (UR would be PG)  Fr. Dennis (4+ Stars)

IMDb listing 

EUR (L. Buford) review
Broadcastingcable.com (J. Walsten) review
The Art of the Monteque (V. Nickerson) review

Deadline.com (A. D'Alessandro) interview w. the child actors

White Water [2015] (directed by Rusty Cundieff, screenplay by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein) is a family drama set in 1963 rural Alabama near the end of the Jim Crow Era.   The film played recently at the 2015 (21st annual) Black Harvest Film Festival held here in Chicago at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

The film tells the very human story of a 7 y/o African American boy named Michael (played by brothers Amir and Amiri O'Neill) who becomes fascinated / obsessed with the _probable_ taste of the water coming-out of the "white's only" water fountain in town.  Since he saw a white boy his age, Tommy (played by Brody Rose), drink and drink and drink from that fountain, Michael is convinced that it must be _much better_ than the water coming out of the "colored folks" water fountain.  Michael knows the taste of the water from that one and he's never been impressed.  Indeed since the water was rusty in taste, he rarely drank from it, only when he was really, really thirsty.

So there it is.  A seven year old African American boy wants to taste "the water of the white folks," and, well ... it's ILLEGAL.  And his ma', Annie (played spectacularly by Sharon Leal) and grandpa (played by Leon Lamar) become convinced that Michael's inevitably going to do something really stupid (like drink from the "white folks' water fountain") that's going to get him into _a lot of trouble_ just like his no-good saxophone playing father (played by Larenz Tate) would get into.

Add then Michael's maybe one-year-older cousin Red (played by Zhane Hall) who eggs Michael on, telling him he's "drunk from white folks' drinking fountains many-a-times" and then Rev. Stokes (again wonderfully played by Barry Shabaka Henley) who's JUST TRYING to keep his little, often quite oppressed / humiliated flock from doing any of a wide number of very stupid things (both politically and personally) that would "lead them on the certain Road to Perdition" ... and one gets ONE HECK OF A (somewhat tempered by years) SEGREGATION ERA STORY that TRULY EVERYONE, BLACK OR WHITE, COULD UNDERSTAND.

Honestly school teachers, if you're looking for a GREAT CHILD FRIENDLY FILM THAT EXPLAINS _ALL THAT ONE REALLY NEEDS TO KNOW_ about THE HUMILIATING (and at times DEADLY SERIOUS) EVIL that was SEGREGATION in the SOUTH during the Jim Crow Era this is A GREAT ONE TO CHOOSE.

Great job folks, great, great job!

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1 comment:

  1. "GREAT CHILD FRIENDLY FILM" I'm surprised you didn't mention the overly obvious adultery scene. This could make it less than a great "child friendly" movie. And you describe the dad as a no good saxophone playing father. could suggest he doesn't play the sax well. I was hoping this would be a movie my kids could show to my self-centered granddaughter.
    Anyway, it's good to have a man of the cloth reviewing movies.