CIFF 2020: Black Perspectives Program Highlights Diverse Voices | Festivals & Awards

Highlights this year in the Black Perspectives program include Bad Hair,” writer/director Justin Simien’s long-awaited follow-up to “Dear White People.” A much-longer cut played at Sundance, which we covered here, saying, “There are imagery and ideas in it that I won’t forget for a long time, and I can’t wait to see how people respond to its insane ambition and memorable imagery.” The Drive-in screening of “Bad Hair” is sold-out, but if you can’t watch it as a part of CIFF, it will be on Hulu on October 23rd, and we will write about this daring movie more extensively then.

One of the biggest events of every film festival that books it this year is the statement made by the directorial debut of Regina King with “One Night in Miami.” Adapted from the award-winning play of the same name, it imagines a night in Florida in which Cassius Clay, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown end up in the same hotel room, discussing race, celebrity, and the responsibility of when the two intertwine. It is a smart film with fantastic performances from its quartet, particularly Kingsley Ben-Adir. Read more about it here.  

Another highlight making the journey from Sundance to CIFF is “Farewell Amor,” from Tanzanian-American director Ekwa Msangi. The film premiered in competition at Park City, where Nick Allen praised its “lovely tenderness” and wrote how it is “comprised of three excellent performances and many quiet conversations.”

Streaming as a part of the Black Perspectives program is the latest documentary from the legendary Sam Pollard, who uses entirely archival footage to tell the story of “MLK/FBI,” a study in how the U.S. government sought not only to besmirch Reverend King but to hold back the entire protest movement in the process. Writing about this excellent film as a part of virtual TIFF coverage, we said, “It is a finely tuned, perfectly edited film, one that builds to a remarkably current chapter about the power and need for legal protest, and what it says about the failures of a country that doesn’t encourage it.”

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