Film Reviews: Wednesday, February 23, 2005
For Colored Boys Who’ve Considered Homicide 7:30pm Fri. Rose Marine Theater, 1440 N Main St, FW. $5-10. 214-333-2530.
New Arrival

A socially conscious UTA professor is the latest to join the local film scene.


Narcel Reedus has only been living in North Texas for a few months, and he’s still in the process of settling in, having just bought a house. The native of Gary, Ind., recently received his master’s degree from Temple University with an eye toward teaching. He arrived here last September to begin working as a professor of film in the art and art history department at UTA. “I’m just trying to find the groove,” he said.
He’ll have a chance to do that at Rose Marine Theater this Friday, when he’ll be showing a collection of his short films. Two of the works to be played were made in Atlanta, where Reedus lived and worked as an independent filmmaker after graduating from Georgia State University. Call to Manhood is a 60-minute documentary about a 1995 conference of successful African-American businessmen giving motivational speeches and seminars in conflict resolution to neighborhood boys and young men. A more interesting item is his 1994 fictional entry entitled (after Ntozake Shange) For Colored Boys Who’ve Considered Homicide, an occasionally overheated but cleverly designed 15-minute short about an angry young thug who’s interrogated about a murder by a mysterious older man in his jail cell. “I was in over my head,” Reedus admitted about his first effort shooting on 16mm. “I didn’t have firsthand knowledge of what I was writing about. It was like the theme just came from somewhere, and I was just channeling the information.”
The third film being screened is a more recent piece called Ezekiel’s Dream, a nonnarrative visual and sonic collage. It’s a marked departure in technique from the other two, a development that Reedus chalked up to his experience teaching at the Maine Photographic Workshops, where he learned how to digitally manipulate images. “I wanted to deal with the corruption that can happen to one’s soul when one is falsely accused,” he said. “It happens to African-Americans on a daily basis.”
Racial issues aren’t at the forefront of all his films. His other works include romantic subjects and documents of dance performances and poetry readings. These will be on sale on DVD at the screening. He recently finished expanding his short Race Juice: An Elixir for the Soul into a feature-length script for his M.F.A. thesis at Temple and is planning to film it. Looking at the difference between his current work and his older films, he detailed what he has learned. “The bottom line of being a decent filmmaker is having some degree of consciousness and awareness of the power you have to talk about issues and represent an aspect of culture in a new and different way. I hope to pass that on to the students at the University of Texas at Arlington. I think there’ll be some dynamic work coming out of here.” Fellow UTA professor Bart Weiss is optimistic about his new colleague’s chances, having recommended the Arlington college to Reedus after seeing him teach 15- and 16-year-old filmmakers at Maine. “It’s very difficult getting those kids and their raging hormones in line,” Weiss said. “He has a broad, deep sense of filmmaking, and he was helping kids who were making horror movies and experimental stuff. He’s great with students.”
Reedus credits Spike Lee with inspiring him to become a filmmaker, though he concedes that Lee wasn’t his favorite director. (For that honor, he lists Soderbergh, Scorsese, Bertolucci, and Carl Franklin.) Lee “believed in his project and did whatever he had to do to get it done,” he said. “That’s inspiring for any artist.”

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