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Friday, February 06, 2009

DVD Review: Diary of a Tired Black Man

Wow. 10 minutes into this film and I had to stop and write about this movie. This is a powerful film. This is the hidden voice of many Black men, just like myself, that has been drowned out by the perceptions promoted by the media and accepted by some Black women. This film is on the mark. It’s another side to being a Black man that can’t be packaged and sold like the “thug” image.

Those are just a few of the very first thoughts I had while watching this film from director Tim Alexander. An independent film, it does not fall into the cookie cutter standards of Hollywood and that is part of what makes this so powerful. The fact that this is based on true events and is something that Black men around the country experience is another. But this is not just a movie, this is a message whose intent is to spark discussion and motivate action.

There is no question that it will do just that. In fact at the website for the film, www.tiredblackman.com you can see that the forums hold over 50,000 comments discussing the aspects of the film and its topic. There is a lot to be said about a film that provides an indelible experience for those that see it.

Now I admit that I had not seen or heard of the 3 minute video that swept the internet some 3 years ago.



It was that video that inspired the creation of the feature length film. Not only are there vignettes in the film expanding on the original video, there is discussion from men and women from around the nation. And the impact of what is said openly and honestly is enormous.

Tim Alexander – the director and creator of the original video and movie – hits to the core of a part of Black culture that has been avoided in all aspects of the media all my life. I deeply relate to the main character and the experiences he goes through. But be prepared because some will be upset by this film. Its honesty is devoid of the usual distractions and imposed stereotypes found in most films discussing Black relationships.

It’s not the fact that I can recognize myself in the main male character James, played by Jimmy Jean-Louis. It’s not that I recognize some of my past relationships. Or in accepting both of those facts that I better understand my growth as a man from my early teens to who I am today. It’s that I think this film has value for those older and/or younger than me. That this addresses an issue that is eating away at the Black community, and it must be changed.

Suffice to say that this film will evoke a reaction from the viewer. And it does not matter if the viewer is male or female, Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, or whatever. But it will be an even stronger reaction for those that are more closely tied to its theme and message.

It is the fact that the audience is left with a reaction that is one of the biggest positives of the film. There are far too many movies that try to entertain and are lost in a message, or just fail to do either. And we the audience are left with nothing, in fact often forgetting what we have seen the moment we stop watching. With Diary of a Tired Black Man, you will likely not want to stop watching and you will definitely remember it. And how can you not want to watch a film that can provide that?

One of the best things about the DVD, which is not available in the various bootlegs out there, is the bonus material. Specifically the expanded commentary of those that were interviewed and seen in the movie. Watching the raw footage of what is said and the full context of what some think is as engaging as the film itself. And the commentary by Tim Alexander is equally rewarding.

And I want to address something that is a bit separate of the film. Bootleg DVD’s. We all have owned on at some point. The thought is that the Hollywood studios make too much money to be hurt. But this is not a Hollywood studio movie.

This was the creation of Tim Alexander, and every bootleg copy takes money from his mouth. Some may want to justify a bootleg by inferring that director/creator Alexander is rich, but that too is a false justification. His passion went into this film, as did his money. And every bootleg copy takes money directly from him, excludes some of the best features of the DVD, and affects the ability of this first time director to create another film. And talent to bring this kind of honesty to the screen should never be blocked.

This last part I can say with 100% assurance as I spoke with Tim recently. I think my up-coming interview with Tim Alexander will be interesting for all my readers.

But right now I am focused on the DVD. I recommend it. I suggest strongly that if you are African American you need to own this. And if you are not you will still find the film captivating and will want to own it as well.

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1 Comments:

Blogger ThinkerGoneMad said...

Wow...
I really have to see this now after viewing that 3-minute clip.

1:08 PM  

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