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STRONG ISLAND (Yance Ford, U.S./Denmark). 107 minutes. Rating: NNNNN One of the many striking images in Yance Ford's directing debut is a.
STRONG ISLAND (Yance Ford, U.S./Denmark). 107 minutes. Rating: NNNNN
One of the many striking images in Yance Ford‘s directing debut is a close-up of his face that practically fills the frame.
Ford recounts the ways his Black middle class family was devastated by the murder of his brother William Ford Jr., who was shot by a white man in 1992 in Long Island. An all-white grand jury chose not to indict the killer, and Ford opens the film by phoning a prosecutor to calmly ask why. As the answers are revealed, his face becomes a canvas of grief, pain and strength the audience has no choice but to confront.
Using only the slightest bit of archival footage, Ford reconstructs his family history primarily through photos and interviews that loop back around the murder and gradually expose the machinations and lingering impacts of institutionalized racism.
Although there is a slight Rashomon-style twist, Ford tells the story with a methodical, almost Zen-like deliberateness to reclaim the narrative and ensure maximum emotional resonance. The emphasis on photos and stillness come to suggest a family frozen in time.
An overwhelming and profound expression of grief.