2 December 2012 | blackprojectionist
A Love Story That Lends to Self Reflection
Thank God I decided to take off Friday and Saturday from the job and support MIST Harlem Cinema and ACT NOW's Best of New Black Voices in Cinema Festival. First time director Wilkie Cornelius Jr.'s film Single Hills was quite the crowd pleaser and had the vibrant energy of that Brooklyn movement that seems to be a renaissance. The story follows a filmmaker's journey in commitment issues, played by J Kyle Manzay, testing the patience of his girlfriend Lisa, played skillfully by Krystal Hill. This is a really important film in this day and age. As Friday's film "Let's Stay Together," examined, Black and Latino Americans are in a cultural crisis when it comes to maintaining lasting relationships. So here's this Brooklyn wave of films coming with self reflective films that ask echo Marvin Gaye's inner questioning, "What's Going On?" What makes it so hard for us to put up our Playa capriciousness? These are real films that are being done outside the studio system on 100% passion. Jay loves Lisa but always has one foot out the door. He has a hard time calling her his girlfriend, and when she demands commitment, he fades out... like so many of us. This hit a heart chord for me personally, as I spent my 20s and 30s bouncing from one woman to the next, as is very common in NYC. As Junot Díaz says in a chorus in his new book, "This is How You Loose Her!" Cornelius gives some great lines to veteran actor, Victor Williams who plays Jay's wingman, friend and instigator. Wilkie Cornelius is a strong writer, and uses Jay's narration to carry the story through transitions, again, evidence in his years as a playwright. Overall, it's a really nice balance of comedy, tragedy and transformation. Yeah, it's a low budget film that may fall into the chickflick realm, where the male protagonist is sort of an anti-hero in the face of ever-loving and devout Lisa, but she is not one to be played, and puts dude through the ringer on some instant-karma tip. "Where can I see it?" I wish I could tell you, it's still in the festival circuit looking for a distributor. Bottom line is two thumbs up. We need more love stories that have substance and cause inner reflection. We need to work our stuff out so we can find happiness with each other. Brooklyn seems to be leading us in that direction.