Hello Trent movie goers and film enthusiasts! This week, Wednesday, February 25, Trent Film Society will be screening Justin Simien’s 2014 film Dear White People, as a standalone movie for Black History Month. This satire takes aim at misconceptions surrounding racism today and attacks it with wit and intelligence.
Dear White People follows the plight of an ambitious and outspoken film student at Winchester University, Sam White (Tessa Thompson), as she actively criticizes white people on campus for racist transgressions through her hard hitting radio show Dear White People, among other media.
An active member of on-campus politics, Sam campaigns to better represent black students on campus. This sparks the attention of white students and faculty, who react to Sam’s campaign, claiming Winchester does not have a racism problem.
Though the film takes place at a fictional college, it deals with issues still affecting students at institutions across North America. Poignant and satirical, this film challenges the myth of the abolishment of racism and us presently being in a “post-racial” America.
The film carefully balances comedic moments with the ongoing drama of many of its characters, dealing with race issues with a humourous yet serious tone. This leads to some funny moments, satirizing racism, often poking fun at white people and privilege, while still leaving ample room to think critically about these issues and how they are still affecting people today.
Dear White People challenges stereotypes of race identity that race identity is something more than what music you listen to, what clothes you wear, and what role-models you admire.
It also deals with difficult subject matter surrounding the issue of racism such as stigma around interracial relationships, problems of identity for people of mixed racial background, and social pressures of black students to act in a particular way.
Tackling tough topics surrounding race politics in education, the film works through complex issues, avoiding any easy answers. Dear White People openly engages with multi-faceted issues, opening up a much needed line of dialogue.
Though the film does make some pretty powerful statements, it more importantly tries to expand the conversation.
The cast includes some familiar faces in supporting roles, such as Tyler Williams, best known for Everybody Hates Chris and Dennis Haysbert from TV shows such as The Unit and 24.
Some may recognize the actress behind the film’s protagonist, Tessa Thompson from her various film and television roles, including the TV shows Veronica Mars or Copper.
If you are unable to make it to our screening on Wednesday, Community & Race Relations Committee will be having an on-campus screening, Thursday, February 26 at 7pm at the LEC Pit.
Our screening will be held at Market Hall at 8pm, located downtown at 140 Charlotte Street, on the corner of George Street at the clock tower.
All of our screenings are absolutely free and are open to everyone, Trent students and general public alike!