derica shields

Black Girls Talking: In one of your statements you quoted Samuel R. Delaney. For him sci-fi is about “what the world might be.” From the films you screen, the future seems doomed, which goes against most mainstream sci-fi narratives, especially in movies, where someone has to save the future/world. Are you pessimistic about the future?

Derica Shields: Yes, that quote comes from this brilliant interview by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah for the Paris Review. We got into this discussion at the March screening of “Remote Control” held at Spectacle Theater in Brooklyn with the likes of Lara Weibgen, Frances Bodomo, Ja’Tovia Gary, Maryam Kazeem, Wendy James Palacios, Shola Amoo and more amazing people. As part of the screening, we show a set of curated clips, and one of the clips was from a fantasy scene in “I’m a Cyborg but That’s Okay” by Park Chan Wook. We talked about why in mainstream sci-fi there was always a white guy trying to save the world, whereas in “I’m a Cyborg” the main character fantasises about shooting up the entire place, just destroying the whole structure.

Through discussion, we came towards this idea that white men in mainstream films save the world as it is because this world actually serves them quite well: they have power, or the means of accessing power, so the end of the world registers as catastrophic for them. Who knows who might replace them in the ruling class? But for those of us who have nothing to lose by abandoning the structures that exist now which actually legislate against our existence, the impulse is not to save this world but to destroy it: radical change is not just desired but vital.

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Mother of George (2013) | dir. Andrew Dosunmu

With cinematography by Sundance award winner Bradford Young and styling by Mobolaji Dawodu, it goes without saying that Andrew Dosunmu‘s Mother of George is the most sumptuous film you’ll see this year. Although Dosunmu’s new film is more plot-driven than his first, Restless City (2010), Mother of George is also impressionistic, privileging the power of gesture to tell a story. Shots of hands working a knife capture the new wife, Adenike’s domestic pride. Later, though we do not hear the precise exchange of words, the camera alights on a neck with tendons strung tight, an arm draped protectively across a stomach.

The film’s opening shots embed us in the exquisite detail and elaborate beauty of a Nigerian wedding in New York. Gorgeous as it is, the atmosphere of these opening scenes is as heavy with the warmth and security of familial love and close-knit community as it is weighted by familial expectation and keenly-policed cultural norms. What unfolds is a story of love, longing, heartbreak and meddling mothers-in-law (it is a Naija film after all). —Derica Shields

Watch the trailer below:

More on about Mother of George on Studio Africa