Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom ★★★★

The blues help you get out of bed in the morning. You get up knowing you ain't alone. There's something else in the world. Something's has been added by that song. The more music you have in the world, the fuller it is.” 

definitely one of those cinematic adaptations of a play that still feels like a play, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing — there’s something irresistibly musical about the film’s theatrical style of dialogue and monologue that’s fitting to the portrait of a musical ensemble, bouncing ideas and feelings off of each other like jazz riffs, embracing a subtle departure from realism that grants the characters an elevated fluidity of direct internal expression, each with their turn for a solo. 

it might not work if the performers weren’t stellar across the board; luckily, they are, and the result is an intense, still-relevant snapshot of Black artists making brilliant, influential art  within a larger context of white supremacist oppression — in some ways ascending their dire circumstances to attain power, and in other ways, still ensnared in structures of injustice that rob them of it. 

They don't care nothin' about me. All they want is my voice. Well, I done learned that. And they gonna treat me the way I wanna be treated, no matter how much it hurts them.”

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