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Black Mother

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Jamaica, USA

2018

1h17

Khalik Allah

Director

Stars

Documentary

Genre

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Part film, part baptism, in BLACK MOTHER director Khalik Allah brings us on a spiritual journey through Jamaica. Soaking up its bustling metropolises and tranquil countryside, Allah introduces us to a succession of vividly rendered souls who call this island home. Their candid testimonies create a polyphonic symphony, set against a visual prayer of indelible portraiture. Thoroughly immersed between the sacred and profane, BLACK MOTHER channels rebellion and reverence into a deeply personal ode informed by Jamaica’s turbulent history but existing in the urgent present.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

95

Paste Magazine by Andrew Crump

The combined effect of Black Mother’s technique—Allah shot on both 16mm and HD—is dizzying to the point of overwhelming, but the discipline required to engage with it is rewarded by a singular moviegoing experience. As the mother births her baby, so does Allah birth new cinematic grammar.
90

Los Angeles Times by Carlos Aguilar

An eternal nurturer, the black mother whom Allah dissects and praises in this transfixing hymn of a movie about the place where the woman that gave him life was born is far more than just a homeland but a direct link to the answers about existence.
91

IndieWire by Eric Kohn

Allah has loaded Black Mother with so many remarkable faces and observations that viewers can hover in its details with ghostly ubiquity, and he only breaks the spell with the recurring image of a nude woman holding a coconut to ground us in some kind of structural trajectory.
90

The New York Times by Glenn Kenny

In its poetic, elliptical, concise way, this film makes a grand statement: The black mother is the mother of life itself. And the gaze directed at the black faces and bodies in “Black Mother” is not a male gaze, or a documentarian’s gaze. It is a gaze of love.
80

Variety by Jessica Kiang

A beguilingly immersive, multifaceted, vividly sensorial portrait of his mother’s homeland, Jamaica.
88

LarsenOnFilm by Josh Larsen

During much of Black Mother, the top of the next frame can be seen peeking from the bottom of the current one. The effect is a certain cinema verite bleariness, but also the suggestion that the person upon whom the camera is focused has a story that not only matters in this moment, but will go on.
89

Austin Chronicle by Marc Savlov

Like the culturally complex and often overwhelming island nation itself, Black Mother is a haunting and singular experience unlike any other.
75

RogerEbert.com by Tomris Laffly

In part shocking and gentle while trekking between chaotic and serene extremes, Black Mother is a fresh piece of work in both how it progresses and how it's assembled like a scrapbook of remembrances.

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