Pacific Northwest Premiere
USA | 2018 | 77 Min | Dir. Khalik Allah
As BLACK MOTHER begins, like something out a dream, you’re thrust into some of the most intimate areas of Jamaica. What you’re met with volleys from educational to surreal. A large swath of folks ranging from religious leaders to sex workers and wide-eyed children engage with you directly; sonically, deeply introspective narrations from unidentified speakers are constant, with voices and unwieldy visuals sometimes totally out of sync with each other. Breathe easy, though: you’re in the hands of documentarian Khalik Allah, an emerging master of the form.
Equal parts haunting travelogue and tone poem, BLACK MOTHER is a uniquely engrossing look at Jamaican culture and identity that no history book could ever deliver. It’s pure cinema. Inspired by Allah’s mother’s heritage, the director’s remarkable second feature, following his Harlem-focused 2015 debut FIELD NIGGAS and cinematography work for Beyoncé’s LEMONADE, is in a class all its own.—Matt Barone