Archive for the ‘Angela Bassett’ Category

Boesman And Lena

13 Jun

Boesman and Lena – Directed by John Berry. High Tragedy. A South African couple, dispossessed and refugee, work out their destiny in a wasteland. 84 minutes Color 2000.

* * * * *

I did not know it had been made; I knew I would be a fool not to see this. Atol Fugard is one of the greatest of modern playwrights, and this play is his King Lear. It takes place in a wasteland and a storm. It is a two character piece in which both characters play the fool, play the monarch, play the bastard-son Edmund. It offers up to us a married couple at rock bottom in their marital and material lives, bulldozed out of their township and now forced to scrounge in desolate mudflats by the sea. The man, Boesman, played by Danny Glover has become stone-hearted by cynicism and reduction, as he knows, to the non-human status of white-man’s-rubbish. Lena Played by Angela Bassett is his alcoholic wife, whose brain has become damage by drink, by circumstance, and by the violent abuse of her husband. I would never have believed Angela Bassett had in her the intelligence, the technique, or the temperament to play as I see her play here, with uncanny daring and immediacy in a range that goes beyond even this great script — which is what you want from the play King Lear, and what you want from the play Boesman and Lena. It is what  such plays exist for. The extraordinary depths to which the script takes us, and the heights to which this actress takes us you will seldom see combined. These two people have become junkyard junk in their marriage and in society. Yet they live. And they fight tenaciously, ignorantly, deeply, not knowing if their fight even leads back. Would you be a fool to miss it? I am happy to say I was not.








How Stella Got Back Her Groove

06 Apr

How Stella Got Her Groove Back – directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan – Romance. A twenty-year old male decides to mate with a woman twice his age, who is skeptical. 124 minutes color 1998.

* * *

It’s wonderful to see how much better an actress Angela Bassett became in the six years between this and What’s Love Got To Do With It? in which all she does is forced: forced smiles, forced fear, forced singing, forced sexuality. Here she simply settles into the part and enjoys unexpected ways of delivering it, and all praise to her. The movie is rubbish, of course, because the relationship between a twenty-year-old male and a forty three year old female here is patently flimsy, and everything everyone says against it is right. Of course there is a mutual sexual attraction between herself and Taye Diggs, who certainly is a beautiful creature. Indeed at one point his naked ass is offered up to our extended contemplation as twere a marital guide. He is also sweet and bien élevé and good in bed and chums with her son and is a decent human being too, but none of that is sufficient grounds for a marriage. For they have nothing in common culturally, financially, or conversationally, and the relationship has no spiritual foundation whatsoever. The result is a black and white value aesthetic, or, let’s calls it a grey and pink value aesthetic, since it presents black females as pink romantic fools, and those black females who are not romantic fools as grey killjoys. All of this is leavened considerably by a brilliant performance by Whoopi Goldberg as The Ribald Best Friend. She brings a quirky vitality to every scene she plays, including and especially her death scene. This wonderful performance makes the film worth seeing twice. Unless, of course, you can’t bear the idea of seeing it even once, as the diminution of the sexual intelligence of black women, and the delusional decoration of women in general, threatens to stupefy us in its blare of garish romance.


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