Many Thousands Gone (2015)
Better in concept than in specifics. Juxtaposing street scenes in NYC and Brazil with emphasis on dance, silent film with improv music added after, this all sounds great. What we get: so-so photography with blowy sounds in the audio, reminiscent of that grating windbag noise on Nine Inch Nails “A Warm Place”.
Flutey frequencies that bugged me even more than the windy blowing, but the middle half was all percussion and the photography seems to have improved even if the subject matter (group dance routines in Jamaica and New York) is less inherently interesting, so we’ll call it even.
Fluid Frontiers (2017)
Short poems and segments about slavery and blackness, read to us on camera, the book covers visible. Detroit and Southern Ontario, the split locations in these films getting closer together each time.
Sicinski in Mubi says the locations are an Underground Railroad reference and “a tribute to Detroit’s Broadside Press, a publishing house of the late 60s and 70s that specialized in radical black poetry … They are reciting works by the Broadside poets, reading them directly from the original chapbooks … Asili insists on a place-based activism, making it clear that only certain kinds of interventions could occur in certain places.” Asili’s debut feature The Inheritance looks to be worth watching.