Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Studio Film Club: GOOD HAIR (Jeff Stilson/USA/2009/96')

If you're into art this is one of the most fun things to do in Trinidad! Hosted by Chae Lovelace and Peter Doig, there's a little party before and after the film that's, as they say here in America, "priceless" :)

Building 7
Fernandes Industrial Centre
Eastern Main Road
Port of Spain

Thursday April 1st

Free for all!

GOOD HAIR (Jeff Stilson/USA/2009/96')

I was raised in hair. Or, to put it more specifically, my mother was a hairdresser. In Brooklyn. In the mid-to-late nineteen-sixties. She never worked in what many hairdressers now refer to as their "salon"; she saw customers in what she called "the shop." Location: the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. Every day after school, I went to the shop to do my homework, and to escort her home. (My mother never understood the New York subway system.) There was something deeply cozy, feminine, and conspiratorial about hanging out at the shop; one not only heard gossip about neighbors; one heard hope being aired. About children, and job possibilities, and boyfriends, and dreams. The air smelled of Bergamont and relaxed or appeased egos. My mother had so many customers, she could never remember their names, she called them all Honey, and they melted under her attention. Eudora Welty brings this atmosphere to life in her great short story, "The Petrified Man," and the director Jeff Stilson reflects the humorous side of it in "Good Hair" (2009), starring the Mark Twain of urban lore, Chris Rock. "Good Hair," exams black women and their social and emotional preoccupation with the concept let alone the reality of...good hair, which is always Indian straight (when not actually a weave comprised of female hair imported from India), because it's been "relaxed." The cameras follow Rock as he makes his way to a barbershop in Harlem, and a hair college in the deep South, all in an attempt to understand black female self-image. Along the way, he and his crew come across a number of characters who add pathos to the enterprise, such as a white man who lives to service black hair, and a black man who prefers to wear women's boots, especially when he's styling a number of women at a hair competition held every year in Atlanta. In the film, Rock also interviews Maya Angelou, who says that a woman's hair is her crowning glory--and her family's. What not many people knew until "Good Hair," hit the screen are the ways in which, among some women and their admirers, hair is not only a crown, but, with the right stylist, it can also be made to resemble a bridge, a house, and a motorway, combined. Hilton Als 2010

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