Rivers Wash Over Me

Rivers Wash Over Me

USA, 2009, 89 Minute Running Time
West Coast Premiere
Genre/Subjects: Black / African American, Drama, Drugs / Addiction, Gay, Incest / Sexual Abuse
Program: U.S. Features
Language: English

DIRECTOR: John G. Young

When his mother dies, 15-year-old Sequan Green must relocate from New York City to the rural south to live with extended family. For a sensitive boy who quotes Baldwin fluently, the folks he meets in North Carolina aren’t an easy fit, including his abusive cousin Michael, the drug dealer/basketball star Ahmed and the women in his family who live in perpetual denial. But he does find a friend in Ahmed’s girlfriend, Lori, the “bad girl” who admires Sequan’s brazen non-conformity. And he even finds a boy to love.

In the center of the story is a crime: a gun has been stolen from the principal’s car. With this incident pushing the film towards its dramatic climax, each character is forced to confront the prisons built for him/herself.

The closet, like violence, takes many forms, and writer-director John Young (Parallel Sons, Frameline19) doesn’t hold back in presenting the contours of both. In the exploration, the film bravely asks: what happens if you live openly — damn the consequences — and what sort of violence can happen if you don’t? Through it all, viewers are given that rare treat: a movie that’s honest, brave and not afraid to dig deep into all sorts of conflicts, be they sexual or racial or class, and bring out something truly rewarding. The image of being washed clean in a river is, of course, baptismal, redemptive, and that too is the experience of going on this journey with brave, young Sequan. — ROBERT O’SHAUGNESSY

Text Voting Code: F117

Copresented by

Community United Against Violence



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