There is nothing more salubrious than divorcing oneself from one’s vocation, avocation; fleeing normalcy and tasting the exotic flavors of another world; China, and its explosive economic phenomena, emerging contemporary art market was my harmonic choice. For two challenging, mind-bending, vastly illuminating weeks my friend and I delved into the escalating, enthralling, exponentially expanding sphere of living Chinese artists, their gallerists, and the daunting tribulations of creating in a totalitarian society; our indoctrination exceeded an “Evelyn Wood” advanced course. Heartening, that censorship has waned; the government now recognizes, and primarily legitimizes “art” of today; artists are less restricted, entitled to travel and their works are hosted at a myriad of museums, worldwide, and mushrooming at auction. Possibly, the monumental outrage at the unjust imprisonment of Ai Weiwei , China’s archetypal artist, has led to the erasure, easing of tainted, unnecessary discrimination against those who refuse to be stunted, categorized, castigated for following their inventive, inspired vision. The Internet and the “flattening” of the globe has injected hope into those who had none.
“Fruitvale Station” is one of the finest films of the year and a thrilling reentry from a halcyon respite; returning to my passion and thirst for movies. Based on a true story we know from the onset the demise of the protagonist; reminiscent of “Love Story”: stunning first line of the film is “What do you say about a 25-year-old girl who died?”, “Oscar Grant” (played brilliantly by Michael B. Jordan) is twenty-two; maybe knowing makes the process so painfully, pungently poignant; realizing, this is the last time he will argue or make love to his girlfriend “Sophina” (sensational, realistic depiction by Melanie Diaz); hug his mother (haunting perfection by Olivia Spencer); joyously romp, cuddle, cherish his four-year-old daughter “Tatiana” (lovely Ariana Neal), a shining, flawless symbol that validates his existence.
The film’s power and seething truth lies in the depiction of an option- less, disenfranchised youth: uneducated, ex-convict, selling drugs to support the fallacy that he still has a job. Oscar is a metaphor for thousands living and dying in the same blazing, bleak milieu. Writer-director Ryan Coogler, minus an ounce of sensationalism, gifts audiences a heartbreaking masterpiece.
What a time for this particular film to reach us!
Intentionally did not address T.M.! P.
So glad to know you enjoyed your journey to China and are home safe and sound! Thanks for the review. I do no think Jordan will like the movie, so I will look for it, as I have do with previous reviewed movies, when they are available through Comcast. XXXXOO Sheila
Jordan might be surprised! Beautifully done, absent of all melodrama; a slice of life perfectly portrayed by every character; I felt as if I was a party of the family. Truly amazing! Thanks dear Sheila for taking time away from your hectic schedule to comment. Again Congratulations on the future Broadway event!!!!!!! P.
Hopefully, Penelope, that what you (and friend) saw and experienced in China will continue to be the case for those working to further conversation and lots of communication through the arts. I have been looking at art out of China for many years and am quite excited by it; styles, techniques, messages, etc.. I felt much the same about my recent trip to Cuba and its art world. And…I look forward to this movie; had not heard much about it. (5*****—WOW!!!)
We had an art historian in each city; it was a remarkable learning experience! Thanks, P.
Did you review “The Way, Way, Back?” I loved your review of the Fruitvale movie. I hope to see it soon. Welcome back! Rachel
Just saw it! Will review this week! thanks, P.
We just saw Fruitvale Station. It had been on my list and was just about gone from theaters. We both thought it was incredible. Hard to believe it was a debut for the writer and director. Amazing story and fabulous acting. A truly great film.
ONE OF THE FINEST, INSIGHTFUL FILMS OF THE YEAR, THANKS, P.