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ALICE WALKER: BEAUTY IN TRUTH (Pratibha Parmar). 84 minutes. Screens June 2, 7:30 pm, TIFF 1.
INSIDE OUT: TORONTO LGBT FILM FESTIVAL at TIFF Bell Lightbox from today (Thursday, May 23) to June 2. $6-$13, galas $17-$30. See Indie & Rep Film. insideout.ca. Rating: NNN
Even speaking as an all-out fan of Alice Walker, I wish Pratibha Parmar had dug a little deeper into the character of the American literary hero.
This is a thorough biographical portrait, with details on Walker’s childhood on the farm, her first marriage to a white man, civil rights activist Melvyn Rosenman Leventhal, through to her spectacular literary success with The Color Purple and beyond.
Always an independent thinker, Walker was vilified by black activists for portraying the abuse black men heaped on black women and, in a later book, for opposing genital mutilation in Africa.
She’s defended by the likes of historian Howard Zinn, Quincy Jones (producer of the The Color Purple movie) and Precious author Sapphire. But except for a brief section on her daughter, Rebecca Walker’s, public rejection of her mother – a cause of deep distress to Walker – there’s no mention of a single flaw.
Is Walker perfect? I doubt it.