Hale County This Morning, This Evening

2019-02-19T23:21:56+00:00Categories: Docs in Review|

Hale County This Morning, This Evening Director/RaMell Ross Watched on Independent Lens Rating  4/5   Hale County This Morning, This Evening is composed of the fleeting, random moments that most other documentaries employ either as brief cutaways during the primary action, or as connective B-roll between narrative plot points. Out of 1300 hours of footage, RaMell Ross, the writer, director, cinematographer and editor, chose relatively few images to complete his 78-minute film, but they reveal a quality of black life that usually exists only on the margins in most other films about the black experience in America, films about prejudice, poverty, injustice, crime, incarceration, and racism. Ross has made a film in which those issues are on the periphery. His interest, as a photographer, teacher, coach and mentor to the young men and women in this movie, is to refocus the quotidian details of their lives to the center of the frame. He was an outsider, in a sense, when he first moved to this Alabama county, a role which suggests he embedded himself into the landscape of everyday life and compiled a scrapbook made up of the rhythms of this self-contained world. He finds two or three characters he stays close to, but he does so almost shyly, obliquely, as if he is afraid to conventionalize his documentary. He is most interested in texture. Drops of sweat hitting the basketball court cuts to raindrops on pavement. Popcorn popping at a concession stand cuts to bugs flitting in the magic hour light. Cheerleaders’ bodies sway in [...]