Rocky’s Review
Chasing Ghosts

MALNI - TOWARDS THE OCEAN, TOWARDS THE SHORE and BILL TRAYLOR: CHASING GHOSTS are both anchored in the world of the spirit.

     MALNI is an ethereal, experimental documentary, and an essential portrait of Northwest Indigenous life. "The debut feature from artist and filmmaker Sky Hopinka, isn't too concerned with whether we fully understand the traditions and rituals it entrancingly commits to screen. It refreshingly centers the Native perspective, and beckons audiences into its wavelength by tapping into something more intuitive, the stuff of dreams.

     The documentary, anchored in the Chinookan origin-of-death myth (a dialogue between a wolf and a coyote about the afterlife), separately follows two young parents - pregnant Sahame and Jordan Mercier, both friends of Hopinka's - as they grapple with questions of legacy and identity. A sense of loss pervades the film. Yet it is never resigned. The ghosts of history live among us. To ignore their presence, MALNI seems to say, is to forget who we really are." (NYTMALNI begins streaming today, 4/13. "Rapturous. Stunning. At times Malni feels like a richly woven ghost story." -Hyperallergic

     Bill Traylor was born into slavery in 1853 on a cotton plantation in rural Alabama. Having witnessed profound social and political change during a life spanning slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow segregation, and the Great Migration, Traylor devised his own visual language to translate an oral culture into something original, powerful, and culturally rooted. He made well over a thousand drawings and paintings between 1939 and 1942. This colorful, strikingly modernist work eventually led him to be recognized as one of America's greatest self-taught artists and the subject of a Smithsonian retrospective. BILL TRAYLOR: CHASING GHOSTS begins streaming this Friday, 4/16. "A celebration of art and the best of humanity transcending poverty, racism and despair." -Southern Poverty Law Center. "An extraordinary artist...Traylor's pictures stamp themselves on your eye and mind." -The New Yorker

     Sad news in the world of movie theatres. The beloved ArcLight Cinemas, a Los Angeles movie theatre chain has succumbed to the pandemic, and will not be re-opening any of its locations. Watching a movie at the ArcLight was always a pleasure. Their closure was preceded last month by the famous Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

     Thank you again for all your support. The donations, movie streaming and popcorn sales continue to keep us afloat. We hope to re-open in either July or August. 

Cinematically Yours,
Rocky