Metro Weekly

3 Powerful New Films to Stream This Week

"Residue," "The Way I See It" and "All In" comprise a trio of new films well worth your viewing time.

Residue

D.C.’s rapid and ongoing gentrification is the focus of filmmaker Merawi Gerima’s striking feature debut Residue. It follows aspiring filmmaker Jay (Obinna Nwachukwu), who returns to the District to find his old neighborhood has been gentrified beyond recognition. Dealing with alienation from his friends, troubled by the disappearance of a loved one, and unsure of his place in this new community, Jay confronts issues of identity, isolation, and loss on a tumultuous personal journey.

Gerima writes, directs, and produces the drama, billed as a “powerful and poetic reflection on topics that are both deeply personal and undeniably universal.” Residue also tackles systemic racism, underemployment, and Black male identity in the nation’s capital — themes that resonate in cities across America, particularly during ongoing nationwide protests.

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2020 Slamdance Film Festival and an official selection at the 77th Venice International Film Festival, Residue has drawn strong praise from critics. Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Releasing, an independent film collective that amplifies the creative voices of people of color and women of all kinds, is distributing the film, which debuts on Netflix on Thursday, Sept. 17, and will have a limited theatrical release in New York and Los Angeles. Visit www.netflix.com.

The Way I See It

Pete Souza has become an unlikely internet star during the Trump era. Official White House Photographer under President Barack Obama, Souza gained notoriety for deliberately and carefully selecting photos of the Obama presidency and juxtaposing them with news coming from the Trump White House — often with sharp captions to accompany the visuals. For instance, after Donald Trump branded former aid Omarosa Manigault a “dog” on Twitter in 2018, Souza shared a photo of Obama with Bo, one of two Portugese water dogs, writing, “A real dog waiting for a real President.”

That rise to internet fame led to the release of 2018 book Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents, which contrasted photos of the Obama presidency with tweets from his successor. After rising to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, filmmaker Dawn Porter has taken inspiration from Shade and Souza’s personal story — including his time as a photographer for the Reagan administration — to create The Way I See It, an unprecedented look behind the scenes of the Obama and Reagan administrations, viewing the unique and tremendous responsibilities of the presidency from the perspective of a man who had an eyewitness account — and the photos to back it up.

In the process, the 102-minute film reveals how Souza transformed himself from a respected photojournalist to a searing commentator on the issues we face as a country and a people. The Way I See It releases theatrically on Friday, Sept. 18, and premieres on MSNBC on Friday, Oct. 9.

All In: The Fight for Democracy

Touted as an insider’s look into “laws and barriers to voting that most people don’t even know is a threat to their basic rights as citizens,” this critical, timely documentary from filmmakers Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés focuses on the experience and expertise of Stacey Abrams. The first Black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States, Abrams would have likely gone on to become the first Black woman governor of her home state of Georgia, had her opponent not stacked the decks in his favor. Brian Kemp worked to suppress turnout by purging many hundreds of thousands of voter registrations in the months leading up to the election, before arbitrarily deciding to put more than 53,000 new voter registrations, most of them from minorities, on hold a month prior to the election — which Abrams lost by roughly 50,000 votes.

All In: The Fight for Democracy shines a light on voter suppression, an insidious issue that has corrupted American democracy, and the very cause that has been Abrams’ cris de coeur since she launched Fair Fight Action in the immediate wake of the 2018 election. In addition to the film’s global release on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, Sept. 18, the filmmakers and Amazon Studios will launch #allinforvoting, a campaign to combat misinformation about the voting process, to help educate and register first-time voters, mobilize communities to have their voices and values counted in November, and train citizens to know how to recognize and report voter suppression when they see it. Armed with such useful information, the documentary, Odie Henderson writes in a review posted to www.rogerebert.com, serves as “a valuable public service wrapped in an educational, informative, and engaging documentary.” Available Friday, Sept. 18, on Amazon Prime Video. Visit www.amazon.com/adlp/allinmovie.

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's online editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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