As announced last night, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement has acquired U.S. theatrical rights to the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Official Selection, Andrew Dosunmu’s Restless City.
The film will debut in NY, LA, and ATL on April 27, and then expand to Philly, Seattle, Detroit, Chicago and Washington DC on May 4.
I’ve already expressed my enthusiasn for the film and this pickup by The African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement.
I saw it a year ago, at Sundance 2011 and loved it.
My reaction during the screening was more blissfully meditative than restless.
Restless City tells the story of young, nomadic Senegalese immigrant, Djbirl (played by Sy Alassane), an aspiring musician, struggling to survive on the fringes of New York City. When he falls in love with a prostitute (Jamaican-born model/actress Nicole Grey) who works for Bekay, the local loan shark, he suddenly finds some much needed meaning and purpose to his otherwise aimless existence, forcing him to make decisions that eventually prove fatal.
This is New York, but not Woody Allen’s privileged New York, nor even Martin Scorcese’s gritty mean streets, or the New York found in Spike Lee’s joints. Dosunmu’s New York has a magical, dreamlike quality to it; it’s peaceful, despite a narrative that features mostly working-class black immigrant men and women, with the weight of oppression on their backs.
It’s like a piece of heaven in hell. A rueful parable about fear and freedom that shares thematic similarities to other recent continental African films – for example, the well-documented rift between tradition and *modernity*.
It refuses to be easily boxed, combining influences as divergent as late Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembene’s realism, to the avant-garde.
I liked the almost otherworldly quality about the film, and was practically forced to give myself over to the universe Andrew creates.
You have to see it, and see it on the big screen! It’s that kind of film.
S&A has been granted an exclusive first look at the film, via a short teaser. I’m told a full trailer will drop early next month; but this should tease you into wanting to see more (emphasis on “tease”):