By Guest Contributor Sofía Quintero, cross-posted from Black Artemis
The best movies provoke thought long after one has left the theater, and the film that did that for me in 2010 was Tanya Hamilton’s Night Catches Us. I saw it when it opened in theaters in December, and it continues to inspire reflection. Some considerations, however, are quite uncomfortable, but those tend to be the ones that have the most to teach.
For those of us actively engaged in social justice movements, Night Catches Us challenges us to examine the personal impact of our political actions. To what extent such actions and their consequences are the inevitable sacrifice we make in the fight against oppression? Is it possible that some of the actions we justify as political resistance are actually rooted in personal wounds, some of which cannot be attributed neatly or wholly to social injustice? And because it may not be possible (if even desirable) to disentangle or reconcile these possibilities, how do we discern the right thing to do? Part of the brilliance of Hamilton’s debut feature is its complex, and therefore, unresolved reflection on this issue.