Hale County This Morning, This Evening
How does one express the reality of individuals whose public image, lives, and humanity originate in exploitation?
Photographer and filmmaker RaMell Ross employs the integrity of nonfiction filmmaking and the currency of stereotypical imagery to fill in the gaps between individual black male icons. HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING is a lyrical innovation to the form of portraiture that boldly ruptures racist aesthetic frameworks that have historically constricted the expression of African American men on film.
In the lives of protagonists Daniel and Quincy, quotidian moments and the surrounding southern landscape are given importance, drawing poetic comparisons between historical symbols and the African American banal. Images are woven together to replace narrative arc with visual movements.
As Ross crafts an inspired tapestry made up of time, the human soul, history, environmental wonder, sociology, and cosmic phenomena, a new aesthetic framework emerges that offers a new way of seeing and experiencing the heat, and the hearts of people in the Black Belt region of the U.S. as well far beyond.
"For the director RaMell Ross’s first feature, he has carved a film of less than 80 minutes out of 1,300 hours of footage shot over several years. The particularity and power of the larger cinematic image he has created through a multiplicity of moments are impossible to adequately describe in critical prose." - Glenn Kenny. A New York Times Critic's Pick!
About RaMell Ross: RaMell Ross earned a BA in both English and Sociology from Georgetown University and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. His photographs have been exhibited internationally and his writing has appeared in such outlets as the NY Times and Walker Arts Center. He was part of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2015 and a New Frontier Artist in Residence in the MIT Media Lab. In 2016, he was a finalist for the Aperture Portfolio Prize, winner of an Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship Grant and a Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow. In early 2017, he was selected for Rhode Island Foundation's Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson Artist Fellowship. RaMell is currently on faculty at Brown University’s Visual Arts Department. HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING is his first feature documentary.