Behind The Screen With Maori: Pariah

first_imgPariah – Adepero Oduye & Charles Parnell(Courtesy of Pariah) By now you’ve more than likely heard about the narrative feature film directed by NYU grad Dee Rees—Pariah. The film, which had its world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival last January, has since received much deserved critical acclaim for its sensitive and emotionally-gripping portrayal of protagonist Alike’s coming-of-age and –out as a queer teen. Set in Brooklyn, Pariah tells the story of a 17-year-old girl preoccupied with poetry and searching for romantic love. As she begins to embrace her sexuality and commence that awkward crawl towards adulthood, Alike battles her conventional parents and more flamboyant peers, all the while managing to continually progress toward a graceful freedom that she can call her own. This film is not a tragic tale, and contrary to a few mentions in the urban blogosphere—it is not “Precious 2.0.” Pariah is lovingly and masterfully crafted. Rees has surrounded herself with a team of über-talented filmmakers including executive producer Spike Lee, cinematographer Bradford Young (who received an award at Sundance for his work on the film), producer Nekisa Cooper and actors Adepero Oduye (Alike), Kim Wayans and Charles Parnell among others—the entire cast is stellar. The characters are all three-dimensional and smash open stereotypes. It’s not easy to love or hate any character outright. The costumes are seamless and the art direction is subtle and captivating. Cinematographer Young recently gave an interview in Shadow & Act where he discussed the visual aesthetic of the film and the importance of discovering new ways to present black bodies at their most beautiful. The overall effect of the film is not one that is overwrought, but rather has a fine sense of balance. In our jaded times, Rees has managed to construct a story that hasn’t yet been told in this manner, that pulls on our hearts in all the right ways and encourages us to love ourselves (and our families)—whole. Insider tip: There will be a special tastemakers screening on Wednesday, January 11 at 7:30pm at the Ritz East (125 S. 2nd Street). Philly 360° has a few tickets available! Follow Philly 360° on Twitter for a chance to win. Pariah opens in Philadelphia on Friday January 13 Landmark Theatres: Ritz At The Bourse 5 400 Ranstead Street (Old City) Philadelphia, PA 19106last_img

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