Adia Trischler—film director, creative director, stylist (and subject of a profile in Kinfolk Issue 23)—selects five films to to mark the close of Black History Month.
This film changed everything for me when it first came out. I was 16, and it was the first time that I saw a movie where the entire cast and story was based around a black family but had nothing to do with being black, per se. Rather it is a film about culture, class and relationships. The dark romanticism of Louisiana is teased out and pitched to visual perfection, while it ultimately tells a traditional Gothic tale of a family come undone. It stars Lynn Whitfield, who is one of the most underrated actresses of her generation.
If I had to give my personal biography in the form of a movie, I would just send everyone a link to The Wiz. I grew up watching this film. My children watch it now. The Wiz is perfect in what it seeks to do. The artistic direction, the score, the performances—everything is immaculate. And the more I go back over it the more I am stunned by its level of ambition and achievement. Nothing is left to chance. Every moment weaves layer upon layer of cultural references together with aural and visual brilliance. The fact that it was a financial and critical flop at the time of its release makes me almost lose faith in humanity, but I don’t think the world was quite ready for so much blackness and… flawlessness.
The Brother from Another Planet
Although this movie is not directed by an African-American, it holds a special place in my cinema heart. Truly strange. Incredibly camp. And a science fiction film that is focused solely on and within the black community.
A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness
Ben Rivers, one of the co-directors of this film, is a genius. And once again, although this movie was not made by a person of color, it nevertheless portrays otherness in a very normal and fluid—not to mention magical—way. The movie follows its (black) protagonist throughout Nordic nature and heavy metal performances.
Within Our Gates
Oscar Micheaux’s film is necessary black viewing and also important for everyone who loves early film. I first watched it upon reading that it was an answer to the endlessly hateful and disturbing Birth of a Nation. It means so much more than that. It still brings forth the complexities and questions about history and ancestry that so many African-Americans, including myself, seek to answer. And I have often wondered about Oscar Micheaux himself, and what it took for him to make such a powerful statement about white supremacy during the 1920s.
Read a Day In The Life-profile on Adia Trischler from Kinfolk Issue 23 here.