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This is the sort of week I call a concentrated dose.

Between baseball playoffs and finishing Luke Cage, there wasn’t a whole lot of time for at-home viewing. So the watchlist is low (get used to that). However, at the same time, it’s mostly new selections, and I got out to the cinema three whole times before the week was out.

“Six titles in seven days” doesn’t seem like much, but when I look at these specific six together, I get a smile.
#52FilmsByWomen continued this week with 13TH directed by Ava DuVernay.
My introduction to Ava DuVernay is something of a perfect storm of awesome.

In case you’re new here, one of the biggest influences on my writing an my love of film was Roger Ebert. In early 2014, the documentary LIFE ITSELF (based on his memoirs) arrived by way of documentary rock star Steve James. Within that film, there is a wonderful scene where Ava DuVernay discusses her experience interacting with Ebert in the wake of his review of her debut film I WILL FOLLOW. She describes sending him a photo of the two of them meeting when she was a little girl, and then reading the beautiful response Ebert published to their correspondence.

I am ashamed to admit that I had never heard of DuVernay before that moment; and even more ashamed that I didn’t chase down her works then and there.

However, 2014 wasn’t done with me yet. Neither was Ava.

As the year went on, my thoughts became more and more fixated on what had happened in Ferguson, MO…and the tragedy that befell Michael Brown. So by the time December arrived and I got a chance to get an early look at a new film called SELMA, I knew I had to jump at it.

Little did I realize who had directed it.

The film rocked me. It instantly took the spot as the very best thing I had seen that year, and I even got to ask Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo a question about it in the moments after the screening. That night stayed with me, as has the rest of DuVernay’s work that I have since made a point of chasing down.

The way it all feels for me in hindsight, is Ebert and James pulling me aside in the way great film conversation sometimes does. It’s as though they said “Forget about what WE have to say about the world, go listen to her instead…she’ll open your eyes to the truth.”

So I did. And she did. And I am a better film lover and perhaps even a better man because of it.

When I first set out on tackling this project, and laying down rules for myself – I was immediately grumpy over the rule of only watching films I’d never seen before and not looking back, since I had assumed that would leave Ava DuVernay out of my tally (I’d already seen her complete filmography to date). Someone who had quickly become one of my favorite voices in the medium? Someone who I so loved pointing towards whenever the subject of female filmmakers came up…sitting out my own project!.

So unfair!

So imagine my excitement when I heard DuVernay had a documentary in-store, and imagine my further interest when I realized just what she was going to be discussing.

Everything that has happened in-between 2014 and now has made me hyper-aware that North America is at a tipping point…that we have to be honest with ourselves about the society we have created, and that the best voices to facilitate real change are voices like Ava DuVernay. 13TH is an incredible piece of the conversation, one that has been hand delivered to all of our televisions, tablets, laptops, and phones. We have no excuse not to listen to what it has to say…and yet, it still waits for us with poise, power, and patience…until we are good and ready.

The perfect storm of awesome that is Ava DuVernay continues to shake the shutters of my film love. She’s a storm that I dearly hope will never quell.
Here’s the week at hand…
Screenings
BLAIR WITCH – I quite enjoyed wandering back into the woods.
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA – A free screening from the kind folks at TIFF.
THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN – Plenty to say about this movie as the weekend goes on.
Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Never Seen
WOMEN HE’S UNDRESSED – Wanna look at a lot of killer classics in a new light?
13TH – This. In so many ways, this.
Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Seen Before
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR – Bought the blu-ray. Stop judging me.

 

Boxscore for The Year
200 First-Timers, 105 Re-Watched
69 Screenings
305 Movies in Total

How’s about you – seen anything good?