Art History: A Watchlist for The Revolution, Pt. 1
It’s now June. The world has changed drastically since May, when I last made a watchlist. There is a movement happening outside your window. It is unifying, it is shocking, it is powerful. The world as a community has come together and we are standing up for what is right.
ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER.
For far too long we have been taught to distract ourselves and avoid dealing with what oppresses us and our neighbors.
Many live in a space of denial and the best way to stay there is to constantly feed yourself with only desired and often digestible content. Content that allows you to forget what is happening. Content that makes you feel like everything is just fine.
The truth is, it has never been fine. Let us lean in and feel comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.
We must educate ourselves, so we can then educate others. As Maya Angelou said, “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” Maya Angelou has been a massive influence in my life. I truly owe my interest in poetry, books, and community work to her words.
When I moved to the United States from Brazil, my first teacher Ms.Moore had me recite “Still I Rise.” I was a 5th grader, who barely spoke English, and here I was reciting these words of power, courage, and liberation -- all of which I was too young to understand. Ms. Moore has been one of life’s greatest gifts, she educated me on the struggles of the Black community in the United States.
This wasn’t completely foreign to me, because I had seen the struggles of my own family members and those of the Black community back home. Brazil was the last country in the Western world to abolish enslavement.
Thanks to Ms. Moore, however, I learned courage. Courage to stand up for myself so I could then stand up for someone else.
I am no expert and I have much more to learn. I have taken this time to put my money where my mouth is by donating, showing up, signing petitions, and emailing my representatives. Most importantly, taking this time to educate myself.
In last piece I wrote for Our House, I suggested a media consumption diet and at this moment we must become even stricter. Education is power.
The revolution has only just begun. Let these films fuel the fire within you.
Do The Right Thing, Directed by Spike Lee, 1989. In my opinion, this is one of the best movies ever made. It’s a powerful experience. A passionate and dignified take on racism. Great storytelling, and great performances. It’s incredibly effective and stays with you. Available to rent on all platforms.
13th, Directed by Ava DuVernay, 2018. This documentary takes an in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and reveals the Nation's history of injustice towards Black and Brown communities. I believe this should be watched in schools, actually, it should be required viewing for anyone who resides in this country. Available on Netflix.
Bacurau, Directed by Kebler Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles, 2020. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes, this film tells the story of oppression in Brazil. Set in the near future, in a small village in Brazil, a series of sinister events take place. Think if Tarantino and Iñarritu made a film about a revolution. It is as relevant as it is important -- poignantly discussing race oppression in South America. This film is in English and Spanish and earns every minute. Available to rent on all platforms.
I Am Not Your Negro, Directed by Raoul Peck, 2016. This film is the reimagining of an unfinished manuscript left behind by James Baldwin, “Remember this House." Voiced by Samuel L. Jackson. The book was to be a revolutionary personal account of the lives and assassinations of three of Baldwin’s close friends. Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. This documentary is a cinematic chronicle of Baldwin’s last words.
Watchmen, Created by Damon Lindelof, 2019. This show is a history lesson within a superhero universe. Not only is Regina King one of the greatest actors of our generation, but also a true superhero taking on systematic racism. If you are looking for an alternative to a documentary or wanting to tackle a series, this show is the perfect show to be watching right now. Available on HBO for free.
Aboliçao, Directed by Zózimo Bulbul, 1988. I have been diving into Black Latinx cinema. Zózimo Bulbul was a revolutionary filmmaker in Brazil and also starred in many films as an actor. After not feeling represented through the stories he was telling, he began his own cinema, Cinema Negro Brazil. The theater screened Black stories and Black voices in South America. Aboliçao was his first film, and it marks one hundred years of the abolition of enslavement in Brazil. It is important we educate ourselves on enslavement all over the world. Available on Facebook.
“You don't know what's happening on the other side of the wall, because you don't want to know.” ― James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro
Don’t look away.
Meet The Family
Mariana Da Silva is a Brazilian Mexican writer/actress who lives in Los Angeles. She is the founder of El Cine, a Latin Film Organization that promotes film education and charitable giving. Mariana has appeared on Telenovelas and TV series, her credits include El Rostro De Analia, Las Dos Caras de Ana and NCIS. Mariana's short films have appeared at festivals world wide.
Mariana is right handed.