It feels like 1965 all over again. The Voters Rights act had not yet been passed. Citizens were being shot for simply marching in the street to make sure their rights to vote were not hindered. You couldn’t be on the jury unless you were registered to vote and thus, there were still all-white juries even in areas where the majority were black. The Zimmerman case, cloaked under the shadow of the NRA whose backing of the Stand Your Ground law enables people to basically shoot first and ask questions later, emboldened George Zimmerman to ignore the police, get out of his car and stalk 17 year-old Trayvon Martin, whom he clearly profiled. Since Zimmerman was not a cop but really just a neighborhood watch guy, he didn’t need probably cause to follow Martin. And he knew he could stand behind Stand Your Ground if he used his weapon (he later lied about this). He didn’t invoke Stand Your Ground at trial because he would have had to face a judge – and the judge would have sent him to prison. Better to take it to a jury with defense lawyers who really had the law on their side in this case. To convict Zimmerman, the jury would have had to go against the law, something they weren’t going to do.
But there is simply no way anyone with a thinking brain, a beating heart and a sense of fairness is going to take this lying down. There is a reason Zimmerman was later arrested after the cops were going to let him get away with murder. There was outrage after the murder and there continues to be outrage with the verdict – and it won’t stop until justice is done. Justice is not the law, however. David Simon writes a wonderful blog, The Audacity of Despair, and he had this to say:
You can stand your ground if you’re white, and you can use a gun to do it. But if you stand your ground with your fists and you’re black, you’re dead.
In the state of Florida, the season on African-Americans now runs year round. Come one, come all. And bring a handgun. The legislators are fine with this blood on their hands. The governor, too. One man accosted another and when it became a fist fight, one man — and one man only — had a firearm. The rest is racial rationalization and dishonorable commentary.
Fruitvale Station is a portrait of a life cut short. Made with assurance and deep emotion, Fruitvale Station is more than a remarkable directing debut for 26-year-old Ryan Coogler. It’s an outstanding film by any standard.
Featuring a leap-to-stardom performance by Michael B. Jordan, “Fruitvale’s” demonstration of how effective understated, naturalistic filmmaking is at conveying even the most incendiary reality. It’s as hopeful as the story it tells is despairing.
“Fruitvale” won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at Sundance, as well as the Un Certain Regard Prize of the Future at Cannes, and its story is a true one, a narrative that created national shock waves when it happened.
More after the cut. Here’s Sasha’s May 16 review of Fruitvale Station from Cannes.
In the end, the most significant effect of the push for 3D could be the way it inspires directors to exploit the new spacial opportunities. They’re motivated to devise reasons to open up compositions that look fantastic in 2D too.
As of this moment, only two films look poised to enter the Best Picture race with a golden ticket. Alexander Payne’s Nebraska and Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station. Already a champ at Sundance, an impressive reception at the Cannes Film Fest, with rave reviews from the critics who matter, and a director who is poised to make film and Oscar history becoming only the second black filmmaker to earn Best Director and Best Picture nominations, Fruitvale Station leads the pack for Best Picture in the pre-Telluride Oscar race.
Three other films right now seem to have what it takes to go all the way but they come with certain caveats. Alexander Payne’s magnificent Nebraska, seen in Cannes, has the stuff for the top nominations. Before Midnight is the best reviewed film of the year and will easy top the critics top ten lists by year’s end. But for the industry monolith that is the PGA/DGA and SAG, Before Midnight will need to count on those voters having seen the other two. It doesn’t quite work as a film on its own because you can’t possible tap in to the frustrations of the two leads without the context of their past.
Idris Elba, hot off the presumed summer blockbuster Pacific Rim, will now play Nelson Mandela. Mandela has been battling serious health problems of late.
The State of the Race