24 July 2008
Knowing Richard Black, dir. Jon-Marc Sandifer (2001)
There were so many things I enjoyed about this film. I loved listening in on calls between Jon-Marc and his friends, I thought the discussion Jon-Marc had with a friend and a female stranger at a bar at the end was fascinating, and I especially enjoyed Jon-Marc's roving-reporter stuff when he interviewed his colleagues about interracial dating. Sadly, these things were asides to the film's main purpose which involved Jon-Marc securing a date for a woman he'd only met once, who was in town for one week, and wanted to "experience" a black man for the first time.
The catch, if it can be so called, is that the woman wanting the date is also black. And so while Jon-Marc spends most of his time chasing up friends to go out with the woman, Marilyne, I wanted to hear more in the way of discussion about the fact that Marilyne, in her early 40s and living in Africa, has never been romantically involved with a black man. Whenever the film brings this topic up, it becomes extremely compelling. When discussion ends and we go back to Jon-Marc and his pimping (which is essentially what he's doing), tedium sets in.
Still, Jon-Marc is great. He's so charismatic and his friends are so interesting that I was never actually bored, just frustrated at his choice of focus. Chasing the dates was not that interesting. Without rewriting the film, I thing Jon-Marc should have confessed at the start what he was doing. To listen to the men react to dating Marilyne knowing her background surely would have created some great discussions.