New York City summers have so many great events that you can get dizzy trying to figure out the best ones to attend. Lovers of Black cinema can have an especially good time by checking out the following screenings with the great outdoor audiences that Rooftop Films specializes in bringing together.
directed by Shaka King
July 18th at 8pm
This Thursday is the second opportunity for New York audiences to see Shaka King’s Newlyweeds , following the film’s smash New York premiere at BAMcinemaFest last month and before its official movie theater release in September.
If you’re unfamiliar with the film don’t let the title fool you, Newlyweeds is a sophisticated stoner romantic comedy, a rare film that graciously walks the fine line between the ills and the humor of chemical dependency. With amazing performances from co-leads Amari Cheatom (Night Catches Us ) and newcomer Trae Harris, and cameos from ‘The Wire’ veterans Hassan Johnson and Isiah Whitlock, Jr., this film maintains its must-see status.
The Roof of Trilok Fusion Center for the Arts
Between Myrtle and Park Ave, South of the BQE
143 Waverly Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11205
G to Clinton/Washington
12 O’CLOCK BOYS
directed by Lotfy Nathan
August 8th at 8pm
This film looks crazy – but the good kind of crazy! Upon hearing the premise I swore this was a narrative, but 12 O’Clock Boys is a straight-up hard-hitting documentary.
Meet Pug, a thirteen year old boy living on a dangerous Westside block in Baltimore. He determinedly has only one goal in mind: to join the 12 O’Clock Boys, the notorious urban dirt-bike gang of Baltimore. Converging from all parts of the inner city, they invade the streets and clash with police, who are forbidden to chase the bikes for fear of endangering the public. They crew gets their name from their trademark move: riding with their front wheel angled straight up – like the hands on a clock.
Pug looks to the pack for mentorship, spurred by their dangerous lifestyle, and navigates their hedonistic world as if in a dreamscape of action-packed rides and clashes with the authorities. As one of the bikers proclaims, “you will learn the right way to do all the wrong things.” But more than vividly portraying this lifestyle, director Lotfy Nathan presents the pivotal years of change in a boy’s life growing up in one of the most dangerous and economically depressed cities in the United States.
With the danger these young boys put themselves through the film seems reminiscent of Sara Belcher’s 2012 documentary Surfing Soweto, about alienated young men in present day South Africa who ‘surf’ on top of trains for thrill-seeking, attention, and in order to be a part of something as the lack opportunity in their impoverished part of the country leaves them with unfulfilable options. Hopefully it is less tragic.
August 8th at 8pm
Greenpoint High School For Engineering and Automotive Technology
(Formerly Automotive High School)
On The Lawn
50 Bedford Ave. at North 13th St., Brooklyn, NY 11222
L to Bedford Ave. or G to Nassau Ave.
For more information on these films and more in their Summer Series, visit RooftopFilms.com
Curtis Caesar John is the Film Editor for Bold As Love Magazine. He also covers film and culture for Limité Magazine as well as for Shadow And Act, for which he created the regular feature ‘This Week in Black Television.’ He is born, raised and resides in Brooklyn, NY, of course. Follow him on Twitter at @MediaManWatch