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Friday, December 30, 2016

Denzel Washington's FENCES Details Racism's Secondary Infection

Don't Miss It!
This movie is disturbing, honest, and absolutely true
If you haven't seen Denzel Washington's version of August Wilson's FENCES at the movies yet plan to see it. Then do me a favor: 

Focus on the emotional pain of the characters surrounding Troy, the father, played by Denzel Washington. 
Troy's feelings will be front and center. You'll see them and remember them even if you don't want to. But if you focus on the other characters are being affected by Troy you'll see a clear rendition of the secondary infection caused by the original infection of white supremacy.

And in this particular case, the secondary infection was laced with more than a smattering of sexism and patriarchy -- which destroyed a little piece of most people around the main character. 

Watching the characters that are just left and right of center character, Troy in this case. Watching what's left in Troy's wake is the key to understanding all that August Wilson was trying to say with this play (movie) same as it was the key to understanding Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis"

Understanding both Wilson and Kafka means you get to understand just how much we impact one another for good and for ill --even when it looks like we are doing our absolute best in our own eyes. 

Thinking about how his younger son may go forth to repeat his father's lessons on being a father and husband should give you pause after you finish watching the movie too.

I can't say enough good thing about FENCES. This August Wilson play made movie was awesome. Denzel Washington directed it himself and he starred in it too.  If this is any indication of what he can do behind a camera he need not ever act again. 

The material is perfectly complicated, obviously. And the casting was right on the nose. Mykelti Williamson's performance as Troy's brother almost has to earn him an Oscar.  All of the actors were excellent, but I expected Denzel and Viola to be excellent. Mykelti kinda broke my heart a little every time he was on screen.

My favorite August Wilson play prior to seeing this movie was "The Piano Lesson" -- which was made into a decent movie too. And I've seen a few August Wilson plays on stage. But I'm not sure I was old enough to deeply understand them before. If I did see this one too maybe it seems unfamiliar because of the way Denzel Washington focused my attention through his directing.

Do yourself a favor. Go see this movie. Go get yourself a slice of day to day Black American History. Then discuss it.  We'll talk about FENCES again. I promise.