Director Ava DuVernay’s historical drama “Selma” reintroduces movie-goers to Martin Luther King Jr., whose legacy we celebrate and struggle with.
The film soars because actor David Oyelowo was able to remove King the man from King the American hero.
Oyelowo’s King is flawed. He is afraid, exhausted and unfaithful. It is exactly that weakness that makes Oyelowo’s portrayal so powerful. “Selma” reminds us that we do not need to be saints to stand up to injustice. We are capable of finding that kind of strength within ourselves.
I walked away from “Selma” feeling like I had been in a fight. DuVernay refuses to spare audiences the violence that took place leading up to the famous march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. You feel every nightstick to the head, every punch to the gut, and even the tear gas in your eyes.
It is hard to watch “Selma” without drawing comparisons to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri after the death of Michael Brown. The images out of Ferguson of heavily armed police with their dogs remind us of photos of the civil rights movement and of how far we still have to go.
This film is likely to promote more discussions about racism in America. It may even remind our politicians that there are still racial issues in this country. African Americans are still subject to housing discrimination, are subtly discouraged from voting via new election laws, and are too often targeted by law enforcement.
About 100 students were given free tickets to see “Selma” for the Jan. 21 Witt Wednesday event at Chakeres Cinema 10 at 9 p.m. Tickets were available in the Philosophy Department’s office. So many students wanted to see the film that there were no tickets left over.
There was a discussion about race preceding the film at 8:15 p.m. The conversation was lead by Julius Bailey, professor of philosophy, and John Young, associate dean for multicultural student programs.
Young ended the discussion by imploring all students to be their own advocates by voting in elections and keeping tabs on their representatives.