ON SCREEN // HOP FILM
Andrew Rossi’s (Ivory Tower) riveting portrait of performer Okwui Okpokwasili, whose one-woman show offers an unflinching look at black female adolescence.
From director Andrew Rossi (Ivory Tower) comes a portrait of writer and performer Okwui Okpokwasili and her acclaimed one-woman show Bronx Gothic. Rooted in memories of her childhood, Okwui—who’s worked with conceptual artists like Ralph Lemon and Julie Taymor—fuses dance, song, drama and comedy to create a mesmerizing space in which audiences can engage with a story about two 12-year-old black girls coming of age in the 1980s. With intimate vérité access to Okwui and her audiences off the stage, Bronx Gothic allows for unparalleled insight into her creative process as well as the complex social issues embodied in it.
D: Andrew Rossi, US, 2017, 1h31m
“Bronx Gothic has dance elements and songs, but storytelling is its core. In language that is by turns blunt and poetic, crudely funny and incantatory, Ms. Okpokwasili conjures and probes…adolescent friendship, a jumble of insults, anger and love. And Ms. Okpokwasili is a magnetic performer. In a voice that can be confiding or terrifying and movement that can be ugly or sinuous, she holds the show together, lending her story unexpected emotional and physical contours.” —The New York Times
“Friendship, trust aggression, sex—lots of sex—spill over, still white hot. Every so often, Okpokwasili breaks into a spasm-filled dance or sweet melody. It’s not always easy to follow the dreamlike logic of her thoughts, but Okpokwasili makes it impossible to look away.” —The New Yorker