Part film, part baptism, in Black Mother director Khalik Allah brings us on a spiritual journey through Jamaica. Soaking up its bustling metropolises and tranquil countryside, Allah introduces us to a succession of vividly rendered souls who call this island home. Their candid testimonies create a polyphonic symphony, set against a visual prayer of indelible portraiture. Thoroughly immersed between the sacred and profane, Black Mother channels rebellion and reverence into a deeply personal ode.
Jamaica’s answer to Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” — but assembled from nonfiction vignettes — Khalik Allah’s “Black Mother” encompasses a succinct, but undeniably transcendental spiritual awakening in audiovisual form.
An eternal nurturer, the black mother whom Allah dissects and praises in this transfixing hymn of a movie about the place where the woman that gave him life was born is far more than just a homeland but a direct link to the answers about existence. To transmit that in just over an hour is certifiably celestial. (read more)
In its poetic, elliptical, concise way, this film makes a grand statement: The black mother is the mother of life itself. And the gaze directed at the black faces and bodies in “Black Mother” is not a male gaze, or a documentarian’s gaze. It is a gaze of love. And it’s something today’s cinema could use a lot more of. (read more)
Education, religion, nutrition, activism, and family life are centered on the child who is ultimately born to the woman seen throughout the film. Allah’s vision of the present time and of history is, above all, a constructive and idealistic view of the future. In a mere seventy-seven minutes, he offers, in subjective fragments, a comprehensive vision of the cycle of life, of death and birth, that’s both social and sanctified, intimate and public. His art is, above all, an art of portraiture; he films the people who he encounters largely head-on, looking at him as he looks at them, often in closeups of a tactile immediacy. Through his sense of light and shape, he lends his subjects a monumental, historic dimension, presenting their essential and inalienable dignity without shying away from their sufferings. (read more)
Khalik Allah (b.1985) is a New York-based photographer and filmmaker whose work has been described as “street opera” simultaneously visceral, hauntingly beautiful and penetrative.
Khalik’s passion for photography was sparked when he began photographing members of the Wu-Tang Clan with a camera he borrowed from his dad.
Real and raw, his profoundly personal work goes beyond street photography. His eye for daring portraiture and bold aesthetics takes us into an entire world.
Catch a viewing of ‘BLACK MOTHER’ until Thursday May 16th @ Laemmle Music Hall – 9036 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, California
This is a must see film for those who love art, photography, filmmaking and the magic of an island filled with unheard of treasures!