On our weekly media roundtable on WBAI Radio later this morning (at 7:30am), we will discuss Precious, the film. Esther Armah is the host, Stacey Patton and I are regulars but this week we will be joined by Akiba Solomon and Nikki Moore.
Here are a few points that have been swirling in my head since I saw the film last night:
1. The themes in the film Precious are not mere themes. The story represents real life for far too many people. Incest, sexual abuse, physical abuse, mental illness, and other hard situations are realities experienced by real live human beings. The African American experience on this planet includes these dark sides…right along side our inspirational and feel good stories (which are also valuable). Still, it’s okay to talk about it and probe the “hard to handle” sides of being human. In fact, we must.
2. If filmmakers decide to showcase our wildest pathologies and translate them into full length feature commercial films for all the world to see, then I personally believe that filmmakers have an EXTRA responsibility to do it in a way that doesn’t betray our humanity.
3. Lee Daniels’ lens is twisted. I imagine him a mad scientist pacing back and forth in his dim, dingy, and cob-infested dungeon trying to figure out how to portray people at their worst. In the background, there’s a shelf with a box full of “context.” He keeps walking past that box…rarely peaking inside.
And I must say this part: I applaud the filmmakers for being bold and caring enough to tell a hard story. That’s no easy job and its rarely done.
I just think it was told poorly.