TrustMovies only a few days ago watched Raoul Peck's new documentary about James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro, that Baldwin and his beliefs kept coming to mind during my viewing of another new film that takes in Harlem and the Black experience: CHAPTER & VERSE. All about a parolee living in a halfway house as he tries to come to terms with being a semi-free man once again, the movie places us squarely in the shoes of this decent and struggling fellow.
Gary Perez) is casually racist but no ogre, and his female boss (Orange Is the New Black's Selenis Leyva, above) at the welfare kitchen where he labors daily is all too happy to coerce him into a sexual relationship. Yet these characters, too, are not shown as villains; they're simply doing their job and making things as easy/pleasurable for themselves as possible.
Loretta Devine, above, who never seems to age!) to whom Lance delivers food becomes a good friend, and he sees that her grandson (Khadim Diop, below) is moving toward street-gang life, the movie builds toward its difficult conclusion. Among the film's strengths is the fact that Joseph and Beaty do not push too hard in any direction; their film seems simply to unfold.
Omari Hardwick, left, playing Lance's friend from prison who has done well for himself on the outside.) This is small film, and I make no grand claims to anything approaching greatness. But it is real, moving and often even funny. I suspect that James Baldwin would have appreciated this movie.
Chapter & Verse, from HFC and Paladin and running 99 minutes, opens tomorrow, Friday, February 3, in New York City at the New York MIST Harlem and the following Friday, February 10, at the AMC Empire 25, and in Los Angeles at the Cinemark 18, Promenade at Howard Hughes Center; in Chicago at the AMC River East 21; and in Atlanta at the AMC 24 South Lake.