We are living in an age of divisiveness, cultural cauterization, we’ve erased the narrative between opposites, eliminating the hope of understanding the “other” or curiosity as to why the dialogue was eliminated? Harkening back to Nabis (1888-1900 art movement) when art still symbolized the power to heal, artists were “prophets”. “seers”: Paul Serusier, Maurice Denis, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Paul Ranson inspired by Japanese prints, used brazen color, broad brushstrokes to galvanize one’s belief in a higher power.
Since the transgressions, grievances, commencing in 2020 the oracles of perception, destroyers of political, racial, religious barricades spring from aesthetically enlightened creators, artists whose masterful talents unveil truths, tarnished by prejudices: Isabel Wilkerson’s Pulitzer Prize winning, “Caste”, traces “The Origins of Our Discontents”; the Chicago Lyric Opera with its productions of “Factotum” and “Proximity” blitzkrieg traditional topics worthy of an operatic thesis, and director A.V. Rockwell’s film “A Thousand and One”, a remarkable, fluent depiction of a life scripted by circumstances, so inordinate, inconceivable to comprehend; yet actors Teyana Talor (“Inez”), Josiah Cross (“Terry”), William Catlett (“Lucky”) make us believe, with every ounce of our souls, their reality. The credibility of the scenario bamboozles viewers. A disenfranchised life defined a moment at a time; carrying one’s worldly possessions in a duffel bag, towing your six-year-old son from one shelter to another; homelessness magnified, dignified by a performance (Taylor) of astounding sublimity, actuality, profundity.
“A Thousand and One” delivers a treatise, a revelation, a tale, without distortions that convincingly tattoos its message in the forefront of one’s memory, infinitely.