Black Body Radiation
Black Body Radiation is the cinematic brainchild and debut of Women in Love founder, Burnt Sugar lead conductor, guitarist and notorious "Lesbian in Me" scribe, Greg Tate. And like it's writer and director, this short is complicated, imaginative, erratic, enigmatic, spirited, confusing at times and totally ambitious. I caught a screening of it this past Sunday at Danny Simmons Gallery in Clinton Hill with about 80 other heads and must admit I really dug this flick's other worldliness.
Radiation is 35 minutes of sci-fi drama, knee-deep in post-apocalyptic scheming and provocative Black love that splices and dices Ridley Scott's Blade Runner and remixes it with Octavia's Butler's oeuvre. Even though the action takes place in a futuristic Brooklyn, Tate cleverly, keeps it grounded by using current in the hood sub-themes like baby daddy dilemmas, housing issues, fly Black grrrls going crazy, and dudes who want relations with more women than they can handle. The casting is superb physically and technically speaking. Karen Good as Kulu, this fierce priestess leader, is a wonder to watch and when she offers her guests tea and then grits with a steady eye and a smile that is part smirk part sneer you see that girlfriend not only has a gift for writing but also for acting. She told me her role is akin to that of The Oracle from the Matrix and sho nuff, she gives the film a nice balance of energy and edge that both sticks and moves. Brianna Hyneman is also wonderful as Naima this warrior goddess. She looks amazing on screen and delivers her lines with just enough tude to give her character depth without making her a stereotype. Her scenes with her husband reminded me of the nuanced moments between the couple in one of my favorite movies Killer of Sheep.
Check the film's myspace page for dates when it will screen again. It's a movie heads should check for a number of reasons, but, like most folks who saw it with me would probably say, mainly because it's one of the few times you will see Black folk in such an imaginative context without there being any pale faces in the mix to mess with, taint or otherwise distort our crazy genius. It's a beautiful Black mind f*ck if nothing else!