We’ve sure have some very knowledge people who read Shadow And Act. When I saw that Tambay posted an item about the Steve McQueen/Chiwetel Ejiofor film project 12 Years A Slave, based on the autobiography by Solomon Northrup, a free black man in New York who was kidnapped and forced to work as a slave in the South, it immediately brought to mind Solomon Northrup’s Oddessy.
But one of our devoted readers urbanauteur mentioned that in his comment before I could put in my two cents in; except he got one fact wrong which I’ll get to in a minute.
Starring Avery Brooks, it was the last project directed by the great Gordon Parks who passed away in 2006. The film was made for PBS for its then American Playhouse series, and it’s an excellent film, though it’s seriously hampered by its obvious budget limitations and rushed production schedule. To my knowledge, the film was never even released on DVD and begs rediscovery.
Though what urbanauteur got wrong was the year it was made, which was in 1984, and not 1978 as he stated. I still remember seeing the film vividly because I saw it at an advance screening with Parks in person, and I had him autograph one his books for me; and shortly afterward, I received from a personal letter from him, expressing his appreciation to me. Both of which I still treasure highly.
And by the way, this also brings to mind my recent piece back in June about whether a serious film about American slavery could be made? (You can read it HERE)
I argued that one could not, simply because the psychological wounds are still too deep and too painful for African Americans. Which is why I find it interesting that it’s a Black British director and actor who are teaming to make a serious film about American slavery. Hmmmmm. Am I reading something here????