SPOTLIGHT FILMS: Fruitvale Station
What is that glow emanating from the furnace of Humanity? Could it be a powerful desire to enrich Civilization through compassion; an earnest attempt at stemming the tide of increasing global disparity; or a passionate striving toward collective enlightenment? Nope…..I’m afraid it is none of the above….sigh. Unfortunately, it is (still) the incessantly undying embers of racism, ethnic/cultural ignorance, and depravity. What a waste.
Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old Black man, no stranger to the American penal system, decided he was going to turn his life around. On the morning of December 31 2008 he awoke determined to be a better son to mother, Wanda, whose birthday, incidentally, falls on New Year’s Eve; be a better partner to his girlfriend, Sophina, with whom he had not been particularly honest; and be a better father to their four year old daughter, Tatiana. Grant was, however, a man with complex entanglements and was fatally sucked in to that vortex of guilt by default.
Early New Year’s Day 2009 Grant was shot by BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) police officer, Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale transit station in Oakland California. The police were responding to reports of a fight and Mehserle, allegedly reaching for his Taser, grabbed his gun instead and shot the subdued Grant in the back. Grant later died of his wound. The incident and the subsequent trial-of-sorts shook the Bay area to the core.
On Tuesday January 28 Spotlight Films will be showing Fruitvale Station, a film written and directed by 27 year old Ryan Coogler (Creed, Locks). Michael B. Jordan (Hotel Noir, and tv’s Parenthood, Bones and The Wire) turns in a stellar performance as Oscar; Melonie Diaz (You Me and the Circus, and tv’s Person of Interest) Sophina; Octavia Spencer ( Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, tv’s Person of Interest) Wanda; and Tatiana is played by Ariana Neal (the tv movie Christmas on the Bayou).
This flick has won and been nominated for buckets full of awards, 28 wins and 24 nominations, including: Boston Film Critics Award for best new filmmaker for Coogler; Avenir Prize, Cannes; Sundance, Audience Award and Grand Jury…..the list goes on.
Every movie has a gaffe or two. See if you can catch the one when Oscar is talking to his mother while in prison New Year’s Eve 2007.
Fruitvale Station will be shown at 7:30 at the Gem Theatre.
This contender for The Big Prize, btw, was made for less than $1million.
Thanks to IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, the Weinstein Co., Wikipedia, Bill Goodykoontz of the Arizona Republic, Spotlight Films sponsors and patrons and Maureen and Marius Paquet of the Gem Theatre.