DuVernay's Origins is a must see...

Published on 27 April 2024 at 07:13

     If you haven’t heard the name Ava DuVernay by now, you must be hiding under a rock in an alternate universe.  Ava DuVernay is a woman of inspiration who gives many individuals hope.  She has truly been taking the entertainment world by storm. Not only is she a highly accomplished African American woman, but were you aware that Duverney had an early career in Public Relations long before she picked up her director's cap?  She once told interviewers, “…my story's also really about age because I didn't pick up a camera until I was 32…" (Farley, 2018). Surprisingly, DuVernay’s work as a director began with her first narrative feature film titled “I Will Follow.” 

This drama, starring Salli Richardson-Whitfield, was released theatrically in 2011. (Farley, 2018) Interestingly, the vision for this film came from DuVernay’s aunt, Denise Sexton, who had a lot to do with opening Ava’s eyes to the Arts. (Farley, 2018)   If you are in an era in your career that is not what's truly in your heart, or maybe you have outgrown that career, Ava attests that “…you can also move, and age doesn’t make a difference...” (Farley, 2018) It’s truly remarkable to note Ava DuVernay's significant strides in the film industry in such a short time.  She has become a trailblazer and an influential figure who continues to set a dynamic statement within the industry.

     Her latest film, “Origins, which she wrote and directed, is based on the book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson. The movie leads you on a journey with Wilkerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, who investigates the connective tissue between racism, caste, and history in different parts of the world. The film stars Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor as Isabel Wilkerson and features Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Audra McDonald, Niecy Nash-Betts, Nick Offerman, and Blair Underwood in supporting roles. The film premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in 2023 and was released in theaters by Neon in 2024.

     From the beginning, the movie tells many profound stories about the past. It tells a story of Isabel Wilkersons' family past and present, including her father's direct tie to a significant moment in African American history.  Origins also gets more in-depth with the tortured treatment of the Jews during the Holocaust and how that is connected to the Atlantic slave trade.  The movie had a way of keeping you locked in.  It even highlights a significant correlation between the Dilat people in India and the unique connection the Untouchables had with segregation and the Civil Rights Movement. This extremely powerful film makes you think deeply, cry, and laugh a little.  A tear-jerker, almost from beginning to end, the independent film had a unique way of incorporating tragic events of National pasts, with the pillars (most important people) in Wilkerson's personal life, almost strategically, making the plot even more intense. It embodied how relationships, family ties, and the effects of death can create an entryway for the future and, more specifically, the future of your lineage.

     Ava DuVernay’s contributions extend beyond the big screen. She has also been involved in television, creating powerful dramas such as “Queen Sugar” and “When They See Us”. Her impact on the entertainment industry is undeniable, and her work resonates with audiences worldwide.


Written by M. J. Harris


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