Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

2019

Documentary

0
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 97%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 96%
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 747

Plot summary


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by babyjaguar 9 / 10

HER BLUEST EYES: SPECIFYING BLACK GREATNESS!

This stunning documentary, "Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am" (2019) directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. Its two hours full of tribute to Morrison by iconic literary figures from Sonia Sanchez to media celebrities like Oprah Winfrey.

It celebrates greatness as a written language about the human experience, illustrated by a selection of Black creativity from artists such as Kara Walker to Kerry James Marshall. It reminds the viewer of America's ties to human slavery through the backdrop stories (historic references to Black slavery) of what inspired Morrison to write great novels from "Bluest Eyes" to "Beloved".

Greenfield-Sanders explores her hometown of Lorain, Ohio; Morrison's childhood experience of an ethnic diverse perception of America. Not using sensational nor romantic devices, Morrison 's story is told as her literary works, as an everyday experience. It topped with a dash of sobriety leaving the viewer to hear and see more.

This production also give a honest telling of Morrison's personal life towards her professional as well as artistic accomplishments. Full of archival interviews with the author from different decades of her life. It creates a myriad, but almost a kaleidoscope effect in viewing her various stages as a single mother, professional editor, literary agent to a visionary!

Reviewed by ampof 10 / 10

awesome!

I went to see this just yesterday, a week after Toni Morrison passed away. I was moved to tears. What a wonderful tribute and how fortunate we are that this film was done before her death. It's a really well done look at her life and work. I found the interviews with other people quite moving and informative and the chance to hear her talk about her work was truly awesome. I can only imagine what a great professor she must have been. I already was planning to reread some or all of her work. This film definitely cemented that decision. If you have any interest at all in American Literature this film is a must see.

Reviewed by Dr_Coulardeau 10 / 10

The Redeemer of Humanity

No one has to introduce anyone to Toni Morrison, The Nobel Prize winner in Literature. To say she was a black woman writer is to reduce her despite what many people have said, including herself. She recaptured in the USA in that very difficult period that was her lifetime (1931-2019) the true position of women in Homo Sapiens emerging a long, very long time ago out of Black Africa and migrating to the whole world and giving birth to the whole humanity. Women were those who gave life, guaranteed the survival of their communities and their species, working out the expansion of the species and their migrating to the whole world, starting with northern Africa, then Asia, then the Middle East and Europe and then finally, after the peak of the glaciation in the Magdalenian, the Middle East again, Europe again and the Indian subcontinent. And I did not forget the migrations to the southern Pacific and South America up to Mesoamerica probably sometime just after the Peak of the Ice Age, or maybe sometime before, and of course not from Siberia to Northern America in the same conditions probably some time just after the Peak of the Ice Age, or maybe sometime before. Women in Black Africa were then essential seers and speakers who could speak to the Spirits they could see beyond the surface of things, and they could speak to everyone on any occasion. They were not alone but probably the greater number of those who could do that. That was not the result of any segregation, but of a necessary and extremely gratifying division of labor that gave women this extremely central responsibility to generate the next generation of Homo Sapiens in a slightly greater number than the initial generation so that they could expand and migrate. They also had the great responsibility to avoid in-breeding and guarantee the openness of the genetic palette of Homo Sapiens. Toni Morrison is a direct descendent of this female responsibility from 300,000 years ago to 15,000 years ago. Then things changed with agriculture and herding.

The force of this heritage is enormous, unfathomable, unvanquishable. They probably had their own way of counting and transmitted it to the kids they were carrying in their wombs, breastfeeding, raising till they became autonomous around six or seven in order to prepare them and bring them to their fertility and their procreative age. Women taught human language to these kids, and they developed that human language from scratch, and this time with the help and collaboration of men who were busy hunting, making tools and weapons. Hunting was possible in the savannah by running after the fastest running animals and by relaying themselves along the way they managed to wear out these animals and then bring them back as food. Homo Sapiens had become long-distance fast bipedal runners, men and women alike and that started their genetic emergence. During that time, women were raising the next generations and doing some important work, like painting the caves and engraving a lot of things in and on stone and stones, on bones, and probably on wood and other media that were not very durable. Ivory, horns, bones, tusks, teeth, antlers were a lot more durable indeed.

Toni Morrison is still taking us to the very roots of Homo Sapiens civilization and as such brings up to us the direct heritage from Black Africa, the cradle of humanity. So to call her a Black woman writer is not false but in the mind of those who say so, it is a way to pretend she is not universal, she is not at the heart of humanity, she is not taking into account most of humanity that is not black. And these very savant learned intellectuals or just ignoramuses (ignorami if you want to make fun of their snobbish arrogance) don't seem to know we all came from Black Africa and women were the heart of this humanity for 285,000 years as opposed to 15,000 years after the agricultural reversal that made men dominant and invented slavery that did not exist before. Toni Morrison is thus representing the redemption of our humanity by bringing up out of oblivion the strongest and deepest dynamic that brought us where we are today. She is one voice that calls for the epiphanic apocalypse that will not destroy humanity but redeem it from our state of total perdition with wars, pandemics, pollution, and all kinds of segregation, racism, and genocide.

That's what you are going to feel and experience in this documentary and I hope you can and will enjoy it. Toni Morrison was the Redeemer. Not alone and I will disagree with the assertion that Ralph Ellison with his Invisible Man was still in the claws of white supremacy because his character was invisible to the whites. I am afraid she missed there an essential point: his character had been made invisible to himself by white supremacists and he is unable to get out of it and he locks himself up in a coal cellar with as much electric light as possible to try to make himself visible to himself with absolutely no other audience but himself. But that is PTSS dementia and Ralph Ellison is so much ahead of his time in 1947. This novel was the first black novel introduced in the English Literature syllabus at the University of California at Davis by myself in 1973. And that was my second choice. I would have preferred Ishmael Reed, but the paperback I wanted to teach, The Free-Lance Pallbearers, was no longer in print. Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin are some of the novelists that are taking us back to the Black African Homo Sapiens heritage, along with Alice Cooper and Toni Morrison, and a few others, like Angela Davis I met in 1974 in Davis, California. I was the only white man in the room where she met the Black student activists

Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU

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