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.