JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Ashes to Ashes | Stacks | No More Wings (Directors: Taylor Rees, Gerald Webb, Abraham Adeyemi) - August 25, 2020

Ashes to Ashes | Stacks | No More Wings

5 5

More excellence from the world of short films

Ashes to Ashes
26 minutes, 2020
Taylor Rees
Five stars

“Our country needs to heal”

In an extraordinary coincidence, I was finally able to find a moment to review Rees’ searing documentary the day after former-president Barack Obama’s no-holds barred indictment of the fool on Capitol Hill. That was the third night of the Democratic National Convention, where the—necessarily—eerie silence (of course: delegates were not allowed to attend due to COVID-19) which greeted his comments seemed exactly like the silence from the majority of Americans decades ago as thousands of their black countrymen met their fate swinging from a rope—much to the disgustingly obvious delight of those who valued living in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”.

Lynching survivor and leather artist extraordinaire, Winfred Rembert channels his memories/pain through his incredibly detailed work, which serves as a permanent memory to the most horrific experiences of his life.

Rembert’s physician and fellow artist, Dr. Shirley Jackson Whitaker, takes it upon herself to organize a long-overdue funeral for the hundreds of victims—many of whom were never found and, consequently, at least, put to rest.

Once again, watching these gritty images from such a sorry past and enduring present-day deadly, at times systemic racism from our protectors and leaders, makes me more ashamed than ever to be white.

Rees has done the planet a noble service, but, as usual, those who need to see this compelling indictment of the worst of the human species, never will. JWR

8 minutes, 2019
Gerald Webb
Four and one-half stars

A “soft” sign of our times

Webb has creatively taken drug culture (and its backroom deals) into the realm of extra-precious 21st century commodities (hard-to-find 2-ply toilet paper and coveted sanitizer).

Mark Christopher Lawrence and Diahnna Nicole Baxter have artfully detailed the parking garage exchange of unmarked cash for a “comfort” hit that puts heroin to shame. JWR

No More Wings
11 minutes, 2019
Abraham Adeyemi
Four and one-half stars

Best dad in the world

A wings-and-chips restaurant is all the background necessary for Adeymi’s look at black lives altered. The “celebratory” meal between Jude—Parys Jordon—in a spiffy suit returning to his neighbourhood after just buying a house and Isaac—Ivanno Jeremiah—who is quite content, it appears, to “stay put”, seems like great news to both. Jude can’t imagine a better father.

But only a generation/booth away in the same eatery are the much-younger men as boys (Joshua Cameron and Tyrus McKenzie, respectively), who deftly foreshadow the cultural/financial divide to come—one stash at a time.

Adrian Leung’s music is the artistic icing on this cautionary tale of two decidedly different pathways. JWR

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