NIGHT CATCHES US (Tonya Hamilton: 2010)
The history of the Black Panthers is an obscured and complicated one. The right sensationalizes and criminalizes the history of their work, while the left romanticizes it. What’s of more importance is that Black youth (predominately women) in the late 60s & early 70s attempted to rebuild their communities and were met with brutal government resistance that too often lead to death and incarceration. Tonya Hamilton’s first full length feature starring Anthony MacKie and Kerry Washington explores the aftermath of that war in 1976 Philadelphia.
Night Catches Us weaves the various ways in which active engagement with politics grabs a hold of our intimate and personal spaces. All the characters are written to show the struggle to reconstruct and survive the collateral damage of government repression and the consequences of our choices; both righteous and selfish. The film also deals with the way Black women (adult and child) manage Black men leaving the “home” due to death, choice, flight or otherwise. This is a well paced emotional narrative that is not intent on hero worship or historical sloganeering. Night Catches Us acts as a mirror to a process that is still working itself out throughout many communities in the U.S. It’s definately worth your five On Demand dollars or your dub at the store.
It’s streaming on Netflix. Beautiful film.
I really enjoyed this movie. I really did.