Steve McQueen’s unflinching, almost surreal look at the evils of slavery inevitably pulls us flush up against today. You can change a lot of things about yourself if you’re a black man. You can be a well-dressed educated family man. You can even be a millionaire or a film director or a famous actor. But the color of your skin remains the same. On some streets in America, in some eyes, that’s what very nearly defines you.

In his third collaboration with Michael Fassbender, after the triumphs of Hunger and Shame, Steve McQueen once again takes his film in his own direction, following no preset formula, no well-traveled path. 12 Years a Slave is in no way Hollywood’s typical rendition of slavery. It is not told from the point of view of the white men in power, nor is it told from a white director’s point of view. There is no magical imaginary savior who rides in with a gun to slay the perpetrators, thereby absolving our collective cultural heritage of guilt in these crimes against humanity, or what Spike Lee has called his holocaust.

Delivering a career-best performance, the marvelous Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, a free man in Maryland who is drugged one night and sold off as a slave deep down in Georgia. The film is based on Northup’s actual firsthand account, a monumental memoir of his ordeal that has been shamefully overlooked in most classrooms. There are so many stories of slaves that have never been told. The only story that is told again and again is the story of the Civil War, how the slaves were freed — and, tellingly, about the white heroes who freed them.

But in 12 Years a Slave, like never before, McQueen gives us a ghastly and uncompromising look at how it must have REALLY felt to be a slave and at the same time presents a scathing indictment of the sickening enterprise that gave white masters total dominion over black families. One of the more repellent details most people in this country would prefer to forget is how imported African women were abused as sex slaves, and how their black sons and brothers surely were too.

Northrup is traded or sold to two different white owners — one of them relatively benevolent (considering) portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, and the other a contemptible manifestation of evil, depicted by Michael Fassbender in what must be said is a performance equal to his work in Shame. Only McQueen can get this kind of acting out Fassbender. His wickedness will chill you to your bones.

One of the biggest surprises for many will be the astonishing debut of Lupita Nyong’o who plays Fassbender’s sexual obsession, “the Queen” he calls her. McQueen said in the Q&A afterwards that he’d auditioned hundreds of women for the part but something electric about this soon-to-be Yale graduate turned his head. “A star is born,” he said of Nyong’o.

McQueen’s charges into 12 Years a Slave with ferocious conviction. He never backs off any aspect of the prevalent degenerate ugliness of the era. Make no mistake, this is a horror film, but it’s one we all have coming to us. In a country that finally freed the African American people 150 years after we brutally shackled them, now 150 years later we’re still living in a culture when anyone with the wrong color skin can be forcefully stopped and frisked on the street — or worse — followed, hounded, hunted like strays and gunned down point blank.

Despite the repugnant malice he has to relay, McQueen gift for composing unforgettable tableaux shimmers through the horror of it all — the tender sun-soaked portrait of a young woman creating handmade dolls out of corn husks; the sick ritual of hanging being carried out with a casual slouch in the woods; the wind sifting through willow trees that dance in the breeze as they innocently drape shade over a plantation mansion.

McQueen is a supremely confident storyteller who has no problem propelling the plot abruptly forward in seismic shifts, so viewers are expected do a little work to regain their footing. He often likes to hold long takes from a single angle and just when you think the camera has to cut or move away the shot’s meditation will linger on a few moments longer. 12 Years a Slave carries on his tradition of expressing the crushing weight of confinement, the helplessness felt in the face of imprisonment.

In Chiwetel Ejiofor he has found another muse, perhaps, to stand alongside Fassbender. Ejiofor is here required to convey so much with only his eyes. He elegantly sustains the tricky duality of having to speak without being allowed to say what he really means. We follow this tragedy so close to our hearts because Ejiofor places it in our embrace so firmly from his hands. It’s a heartbreaking, searing, mesmerizing performance; one of the very best of the year so far.

By the time 12 Years a Slave came to an end there were tears streaming down many faces in the audience. Some were still too horrified to lower their hands from their eyes. But take your hands away. Look. Perhaps this isn’t what you want to see anymore, or ever did. Maybe many of us want our movies to only always tell stories of the good deeds that we’ve done in our past. But bearing witness to the truth of our wrongdoing is important too. If there ever was a film that announced the truth shall set you free, it’s this one.

We can’t wish our past away. We can’t even cook up a plausible fantasy that it did go away. The bones are buried in unmarked graves, the families ripped apart for generations. The blood of white slaveowners still pumps through the the veins of black descendents. Whiteness flickers through blackness. Scorched sparks threading remnants of our history’s horrid conflagration, forever refusing to let smokey embers cool down. Slave-owner surnames grafted on and intertwined down through the generations, permanent scars of crude branding irons that tag their one-time property even now.

With perhaps his most accomplished film to date it will be hard for Academy voters to ignore Steve McQueen, one of this generation’s most talented directors. Take a moment and look at three films this year that define and question our present by illuminating the crimes of our past — Fruitvale Station, The Butler and now, 12 Years a Slave. The grim consequences and reverberations of those crimes still linger, echoing through our daily lives like a cancer beaten back into remission that can never quite be cured.

The beauty in McQueen’s work is unshakable. The formidable film is still with me, vibrantly, in all of its glory and shame.

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  • “But in 12 Years a Slave, like never before, McQueen gives us a ghastly and uncompromising look at how it must have REALLY felt to be a slave and at the same time presents a scathing indictment of the sickening enterprise that gave white masters total dominion over black families.”

    And this is exactly what stands out about this film about the horrors of slavery. It’s from a slave’s pov, the truth, from a real story. I’m glad you liked it and I’m pleased that it did so well at Telluride.

  • Rooting for both 12 years and Prisoners. We live daily with the effects and fallout from slavery. Prisoners looks at the ugly depths of humanity under pressure. It’s time for films tell uncomfortable stories that can truly reach an audience. This year doesn’t seem to have a “feel good” movie in the likely award winners.

  • “This year doesn’t seem to have a “feel good” movie in the likely award winners.”

    That’ll change pretty quickly once Saving Mr. Banks and The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty debut. Mark my words. This year, same as the last.

  • The film sounds like an extraordinary achievement and could well be the movie to beat come the Oscar and BAFTA nominations in January. A near certainty for Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Screenplay nominations. The film is doing the festival rounds (Toronto, New York and, probably, London) prior to its US opening on October 18 in order to build momentum It seems to tick so many boxes (a true story AND an important subject matter). Ejiofor could well be the first black British Actor to be nominated in the Best Actor category and McQueen the first black British filmmaker to be nominated – so in that sense, it could be historic. It’s be interesting to see the reaction in Toronto.

    McQueen is one of the most fascinating new British directors. I found HUNGER could and uninvolving, but thought SHAME was the most thought-provoking film of 2012 (a sort of Anti-Sex in the City).

    This is turning out to be one of the most exciting Oscar races I can recall – the sheer diversity and range of the movies, from 12 YEARS A SLAVE to RUSH to GRAVITY. Can’t wait to see the first reviews of SAVING MR BANKS, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, THE MONUMENTS MEN and AMERICAN HUSTLE.

  • davemau

    vous êtes une poète, Sasha

  • Christophe

    I second that. SMB is also based on an “uncomfortable story that can truly reach an audience”. I don’t see why there should be a stigma against feel-good movies, which can be just as beautiful and true as bleak and gritty ones.

  • Sasha Stone

    Don’t forget Captain Phillips, which should be feelgood – Labor Day is ultimately feelgood…

  • Sasha Stone

    Merci beaucoup, David…

  • Bryce Forestieri

    It’s time for films tell uncomfortable stories that can truly reach an audience

    Can I suggest a treatment by Iñárritu on the proliferation of ratchets in medium-sized cities like Austin-TX or Charlotte-NC? Decent Gog-fearing Americans like me are being driven out of places that insist to be called sports bars and eateries.

  • vbn

    An interesting point that the director and the main actors are Brits, so are sort of still one step away from the events perspective wise…

  • If this doesn’t score at least six Oscar nominations and three wins (thereby beating Django Unchained), I’ll be furious. I’m already furious in anticipation. I’m always furious actually.

    It doesn’t have a hope at winning. Fellow foreign directors at the start of their careers have won recently, but this is a wholly different beast. An R-rated hard-hitter about slavery from a black man, a former contemporary artist, whose films to date have featured as their protagonists an IRA member, a sex addict and a slave. Not a comedy about Hollywood’s golden era. Not a period film about a king with a stutter.

  • steve50

    Beautiful review, Sasha.

    When facing the complicated or uncomfortable, McQueen does not blink, nor does he allow us the opportunity. It sounds as though he’s stayed true with this.

    I’m so glad you got to see it early.

  • Bebe

    Wow, great review! Very polished, awesome. Can’t wait to see the movie.

  • The British fingerprints over this film allows that ‘other’ perspective that is key for this very film to be made like it is, and be more frank and honest than any American director could create, no matter how good their intentions or their talent. Look at what American Tarantino created with Django and look at what Briton McQueen is able to create with TYAS? That’s telling.

  • Paddy dear, chillax, don’t be furious…yet, remain hopeful that TYAS is such a force to be reckoned with that AMPAS cannot deny it (esp after their complete indifference to Hunger and Shame). If it cannot muster a fair amount of Oscar nominations, and go on to win more than the black comedy that was Django, they yes, be fucking furious at that point. But until then, let’s be optimistic. 🙂

  • Christophe

    yet another proof that one doesn’t need to be in the midst of events to make a good movie abt it. it might actually be a good thing to take some distance and show a different perspective. after all, Americans are making movies set in foreign countries all the time and it seems perfectly normal but when a foreigner makes a movie abt America it’s suspicious, and it’s not fair!

  • Christophe

    The Academy does what the Academy wants! We should never underestimate its capacity to crush our hopes. Oscar voters barely even watch nominated films so we shouldn’t expect too much for them. They usually vote for the best campaign not necessarily the best film.

  • phantom

    Also let’s not forget Philomena that is THE crowdpleaser at the moment in Venice and can rely on great pedigree (Frears, Dench) and the Weinstein machine to make it a big hit with voters and audiences alike.

  • That is 100% true Christoph, that’s why I not allowing myself to get upset so early in the game. AMPAS is a sham, and they pissed me off dearly with the snubbing of Fassbender for Shame – he should have been just nominated on principle. But instead, they gave the fifth nomination slot to some guy who came out of left field, just to deny Fassbender’s nomination. That is the fucking truth. So yea, I’m of the opinion that AMPAS has lost credibility eons ago, but I’m taking the zen route at the moment and hope they have a modicum of decency and do the right thing with TYAS.

  • Lillyb45

    I have a massive girl crush on Lupita Nyong’o. She is a magnificent camera subject.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Here’s what AMPAS has to say about our expectations and wishes:

    It’s our party we can do what we want
    It’s our party we can say what we want
    It’s our party we can love who we want
    We can kiss who we want
    We can sing what we want

    And what’s DJANGO has to do with anything? Oh right, because



    How aggravating this season will be if I have to bear hearing this comparison every time McQueen’s film comes up. I’ll do my best and try to remind myself how utterly unnecessary is to defend DJANGO = Critical Acclaim + Box Office Success + Industry Recognition + Memorable to most people + Some dissenters = Classic Tarantino

    One of the 2-3 most re-watchable films from last year I must say, and sure to remain one of the best films of this young decade (among those who like it anyways).

  • Bob Burns

    “Make no mistake, this is a horror film, but it’s one we all have coming to us. In a country that finally freed the African American people 150 years after we brutally shackled them, now 150 years later we’re still living in a culture when anyone with the wrong color skin can be forcefully stopped and frisked on the street — or worse — followed, hounded, hunted like strays and gunned down point blank.”

    thanks for this and the rest

  • Christophe

    GRAVITY = 2001

    Why spend so much money, time and effort to make the same movies over and over again when one could just re-release the original? In any case it’s not particularly deserving of oscar praise and will most likely lose to great and unique films like SMB, LD’TB, TMM or even Diana.

  • I saw this trailer before THE BUTLER today. Trailers always look different/better on the big screen. What I came away from the theater with was the thought that if it’s one or the other, THE BUTLER will be the real Oscar contender because it’s sort of happy. Of course I haven’t seen 12 Years a Slave, but I had that thought with the idea that it would be the better film but not necessarily what people want to see or reward.

    I like Chiwetel Ejiofor but I’m not as fascinated by Fassbender or Cumberbunch as most people. It looks good though. We’ll see. Eventually. It took me forever to see SHAME and after all that I was underwhelmed so I dunno. I assume this will be released wide because of Mr. Pitt.

  • Radich

    Thanks for the review, Sasha.

    One just needs to say Steve McQueen directing, and I’m there. Glad to hear that Fassbender is perfection as always and Ejiofor completely owns the part.

    I just hope it won’t take too long for this film to come to Brazil…

  • Tony

    I look forward to seeing what sounds like a great movie made by people whose previous work I have admired.

    However, I do not share in the “collective guilt” of which you write. One side of my family came to America in 1913. The other side (solely consisting of my mother) in 1958. Everyone lived in California only, not Jim Crow states.

    P.S. Stop, QUESTION, and frisk exists to protect people (mostly of color) from being killed by other people (mostly of color).

    P.P.S. Again, the Trayvon Martin case wasn’t nearly as clear as the allusion you made to it. People of color are MUCH more likely to be hunted and kiled by other people of color. As the old chestnur goes, facts are stubborn things.

  • Tony


  • Ted

    Saw 12 years today. This will pick up several nominations. As for the win, it’s an uphill climb, but chiwetel, fassbender, and lapida seem like locks to me.

  • LillyV45

    The only thing about the trailer and and stills from this film that seems a bit “off,” is that the slaves look a tad too healthy.

    If you look at photographs of slaves from that era, one of the most striking things you notice is just how bone thin they are. Every man woman and child looks malnourished.

    Most historical accounts state that the fat, happy, slaves a la Mammy in Gone With The Wind, is largely a myth. Slaves were worked extremely hard and given very little food.

    Slavery in this country wasn’t as harsh as say, slavery in Brazil where people were routinely worked to death. But it was still pretty brutal.

  • Kyle J.

    Hey Sasha,

    Overall, what Oscar nominations do you think 12 Years A Slave has a really good shot at getting this year?

    I’m hearing that Ejiofor has a good chance of winning Best Actor. I’m really hoping McQueen gets in there for Best Director (definitely overdue) and that Fassbender gets in there for Supporting Actor (even more overdue).

  • P.S. Stop, QUESTION, and frisk exists to protect people (mostly of color)

    and don’t forget there’s:
    – stop, frisk, question, and frisk
    – profile, stop, harass, frisk and frisk
    – stop, frisk, spam, spam, bacon and frisk
    – stop, frisk, taser, kick, cuff, bacon, spam, question and frisk
    – spam, spam, frisk ,spam, question and spam —


    frisk is fine if there’s probable cause
    being black isn’t probable cause

  • As the old chestnut goes, facts are stubborn things

    Here’s a couple of stubborn facts:

    Although roughly 9x as many people of color are frisked than white people in NYC, it’s the white people who are 1.4 times as likely to be carrying concealed deadly weapons.

    So if the frisking is really intended to discover weapons then NYC cops should be frisking 10x more pink-colored people than they do.

  • Robert

    This seems to be an overall good year for movies. So many are getting raved about. 12 Years A Slave will be an interesting one at the Oscars, being that it will be interesting to see how the Academy will reward the movie with regards to nominations. Nevertheless, its praise cannot be denied.

  • rufussondheim

    C heck out the photos of her on the Yale Theater Site, can’t recall the play she was in (A Winter’s Tale?) but she’s utterly luminous in those photos.

  • rufussondheim

    I have a spoiler filled question about the ending of the film, so if you don’t want to know how it ends please stop reading, hopefully someone who has seen the film will respond with as much detail as they have time.

    For me the most effective aspect of the book was the moment that Northup was freed. Northup describes in his book how uncertain he was at how his fellow slaves would feel. We get a brief passage on their reactions, especially Patsey’s. Northup’s conflicted emotions at knowing the horror would continue for his compatriots of the prior ten years would continue even if his would not. This was an extraordinarily bittersweet moment for him, the goodbyes.

    I’m just wondering if the complexities I’ve attempted to describe come through at all.

  • Tony

    My point about “stop and frisk” is that it’s a popular misnomer. (In law school we used “Terry stop” as shorthand.) Questions are asked to help determine whether its reasonable to proceed to frisk.

    About your NYC stats: Are those guns being carried legally? If they are not, isn’t it true that they are used in crimes and to kill at a much lower rate?

  • Ted

    Believe me… it’s all there. I think you’ll be very pleased. Wait till you see the girl who plays “the Queen”.

  • Ryan,
    My point about “stop and frisk” is that it’s a popular misnomer. (In law school we used “Terry stop” as shorthand.) Questions are asked to help determine whether its reasonable to proceed to frisk.

    Apparently there’s another popular misconception that “Stop, Hassle, and Frisk” does a damn bit of good.

    Bloomberg and NYPD officials claim stop-and-frisk targets minorities more often because minorities are responsible for a high percentage of crime. However, only 11 percent of stops in 2011 were based on a description of a violent crime suspect. Furthermore, no research has shown that stop-and-frisk has reduced violent crime.

    You ask:

    About your NYC stats: Are those guns being carried legally?

    yes, how about this stockpile of illegal weapons the cops are finding on black suspects they harass:

    Guns are found in less than 0.2 % of stops.

    In simper terms, Tony, for every 1000 men of any color who are stopped, 998 of them do not have a weapon.

    87% of “suspects” stopped were Black or Hispanic.
    12% were white.

    That would be bad enough if NYC was half White and half non-White.

    But we know that’s not the case. The disproportionate targeting of non-white pedestrians results in this ugly statistic.

    In one recent year, stops of whites amounted to approximately 2.6% of the white population;
    in contrast, stops of blacks amounted to just over 21% of the black population.

    Please pause to let that sink in. Out of every 100 white people in NYC, 97.4% never have to deal with stop and frisk.

    But if you’re a black person in NYC, you have a 1 in 5 chance of being profiled and degraded by stop and frisk.

    What do cops find far more often than guns? “Contraband” — small quantities of marijuana. Without any reason, 1 out of every 5 black people are being stopped and searched for weed.

    Some might say, “That’s great! Let’s get those filthy pot-smokers off the street!”

    When it came to discovering contraband, officers were a third more likely to find illegal items on the person of a white suspect.

    But let’s look at those ugliest numbers one more time.

    only 2% of white people in NYC ever get stopped and frisked.
    but 20% of black people in NYC are stopped and frisked.

    89% of them of them are totally innocent (so what made them suspicious-looking, I wonder).

    99.8% of people humiliated by stop and frisk do not have any weapon. There’s no violent crime involved at all. But thanks to stop, hassle and frisk, thousands of black guys minding their own business are railroaded into the the criminal justice system for carrying a couple of joints.

    There’s been a 600 percent increase [in stop and frisk shakefdowns] since Kelly took over as NYPD commissioner in 2002.

    Do you think that’s resulted in a 600 % decrease in “black on black crime”? Or do you think it’s more likely resulted in a 600% increase of black people getting busted for carrying some weed.

    Meanwhile, You only have to stop 43 white people to find some weed — but you have to stop 61 black people.

    The likelihood a stop of an African American New Yorker yielded a weapon was half that of white New Yorkers stopped.

    But those reliable upstanding white folks are probably carrying legal weapons, you say.

    Whew! That’s reassuring. Because we know that no innocent black people ever get gunned down by white guys carrying a legal weapon, right?

    I don’t know what to say about anyone who tries to defend such a screwed up racially discriminatory policy.

  • Tony

    Good police work means putting more cops in high crime areas. If high crime areas tend to be made up mostly of people of color, few white folks will be stopped.
    Most Terry stops don’t result in the finding of illegal guns, because even criminals with a modicum of intelligence who are in these areas know that they are likely to be involved in Terry stops.
    People of color have a VERY small chance of being killed by white folks. Even Jesse Jackson knows full well who is highly likely to kill him.
    I abhor the fact that African-Americans account for about 50% of murder victims in this country, but only that community can solve that problem.

  • Alec

    I have to agree with Ryan on this one. While stop and frisk seems like a great policy in theory, it has not been utilized in a proper manner. It has been used more for profiling and as an excuse to stop someone who might have drugs on them. Those were not the reasons for which this policy was implemented. If cops used it only in situations where they feel their lives or another life was in imminent danger, there would be significantly less stops.

  • rufussondheim

    Thank you, I just remember getting to that part of the book and then I completely lost it, it was so moving.

  • rufussondheim

    Haven’t read all of the stuff above on stop and frisk, but the most damning aspect of the practice is not found in statistics. The practice teaches young kids of color that they are not to be trusted, that authority figures are to be dodged, even feared. If nothing else it creates the notion that society is an us vs them. Is that what we want?

  • I’m sorry but if at some point in the film, Mayor Bloomberg jumps off a subway car and begins “stopping and frisking” the slaves, it’s going to take me right out of the movie. Can’t believe something with that in it would be an Oscar contender.

  • “If high crime areas tend to be made up mostly of people of color…”

    oh, like Wall Street you mean.

    Never mind the way bankers and brokers pillage and bilk us of trillions of dollars and cause incalculable suffering. But by all means let’s mobilize a militarized police presence of thousands of cops to put all the pot-smokers in jail.

    well, at least the BLACK pot-smokers. Gotta keep those all those white lawyers and white prison builders happy by churning black people through the perverted Drug War machine.

    Tony, if 1 out of every 5 white people in NYC was shaken down and felt up, do you not think cops would find any weed on them?

    Did you not bother to read the facts I found for you? White people who get subjected to stop and frisk are a third more likely to be found with “contraband” on them.

    High crime areas my ass. Find me the evidence that stop and frisk prevents anybody of any color in any neighborhood from getting raped.

    Furthermore, no research has shown that stop-and-frisk has reduced violent crime.

    Why the hell did I even bother to find you the facts if you’re just going to ignore them?

  • Tony

    If murder rates go down, it’s difficult to say if it’s due to Terry stops or something else. But, NYC, which has Terry stops, is doing a heck of a lot better than Chicago or Oakland, places without Terry stops.

    Terry stops can be abused. They should be used to find illegal weapons. Marijuana may be found during the course of a Terry stop, but that shouldn’t be the initial reason for the stop.

    Terry stops are sensible and constitutional, if done properly. Bad cops need to be retrained, disciplined or fired.

  • writeblock

    Let’s remember: it was the black African who sold his brother into slavery and white Americans who fought a civil war to end the horror. No one race is entirely innocent or blameworthy. Slavery was an accepted phenomenon of past centuries. Why use it to score political points in the present?

    Interesting too is how the film depicts the protagonist as respectable. Most of the tension between blacks and whites today is cultural, not racial. There has been a decline in respectability on the part of black leadership that need to be honestly addressed. Al Sharpton is no Martin Luther King.

  • Patrick

    Very late to this but the last graf of the review is a thing of beauty.

  • TB

    Beautiful Review Sasha. Thanks. Can’t wait to see it.

  • Great review, Sasha, to match a great movie. “12 Years a Slave” is the best film I’ll see this year. It’s one of the great ones. It’s an instant classic. One of the greatest films ever made. And certainly the greatest film on this horrifying subject.

    It’s like McQueen is saying,”You think you know everything there is to know about slavery, do you? Well, think again.”

    The Academy cannot deny this film all the nominations discussed and I am pretty damn sure it cannot deny it the Oscar. And to think in it’s ENTIRE history, they’ve only nominated ONE BLACK MAN, John Singleton, and that was awhile back and there’s been no one since.

    It’s going to win everything in every category it’s competing in. Michael Fassbender of course, being the white guy in the black movie has a very, very good chance of being the winner of Best Supporting Actor. And Chiwetal Ejiofar! How can they deny him Best Actor! That HANGING SCENE alone! OMG! I couldn’t catch my breath! It was horrifying and went on and on and on. As I’m sure real hangings really do! And then…well that scene alone should get him the Oscar, but the subtlety he displays throughout his huge ordeal. He’s in nearly every scene.

    And Lupito N. too. It’s her vs. Oprah with Octavia Spenser also a likely nominee for “Fruitvale Station” Three African-American actresses nominated in one category now THAT’s never happened before.

    Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor and Actress. I think it could win them all. And it just won the Critics’ Choice Award.

    And I also must mention the shattering performance of Adepero Oduye as Eliza, a WOMAN who is kidnapped along withSolomon and also her two children, who are then taken from her and she can’t stop crying and crying and crying and…
    This Adepero Oduye of “Precious.” A shattering performance…in what is surely one of the greatest films of our time.

  • Squasher88

    Beautiful as always Sasha.

    “The blood of white slaveowners still pumps through the the veins of black descendents”. That’s a great line.

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