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Chicago Theatrical Premiere
NIGHT CATCHES US
Grand Jury Prize Sundance Film Fest
FIPRESCI Award Seattle Film Fest
"Writer-director Tanya Hamilton's striking debut is the rare recent American-independent film that goes beyond the private dramas of its protagonists, imagining them as players in broader historical moments" -Village Voice
"Hamilton tells a modest, complex story with admirable clarity and nuance. That her film is so quiet, so evidently invested in contemplation rather than confrontation, gives it power as well as insight" -New York Times
"Hamilton manifests her vision of what politics can do to individual thinking with subtlety and sophistication. Remember her name. She's a genuine find" -Rolling Stone
"Night Catches Us resonates deeply as a portrait of idealistic beliefs co-opted and mutated, as well as the wrong lessons passed down by said transformation" -Slant Magazine
"[A] haunting and soulful elegy to a bygone urban America" -Salon.com
"Night Catches Us conjures a world that feels fully real" -NPR
"The acting is terrific and guided with a gifted hand that seeks emotional truth behind actions.... It's the kind of human drama Spike Lee did well in his early films" -Film Threat
"Sober but never despairing and smart enough to know that retrenching isn't the same as giving in" -TimeOut Chicago
"The two leads are excellent... the movie is refreshing for its seriousness and originality" -Chicago Reader
"Its rhythm forces audiences to pay attention to what its superb actors express non-verbally... A strong calling card of a feature" -Chicago Tribune
The debut feature from Tanya Hamilton exposes the realities of African-American life during the final days of the Black Power movement, as potluck suppers, run-ins with the authorities, and lingering radicalism threaten to set off a neighborhood teetering on the edge. Set in Philadelphia in 1976, Night Catches Us focuses on two former Black Panther activists (Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington) who reunite during the summer before Jimmy Carter's election. Through two people drawn together despite their past, the film paints a fresh perspective of the era and gives an allegory for our own times in the age of Obama. Playing two friends forced to confront personal and political demons, Mackie and Washington give spectacular performances, while Hamilton's use of a compelling soundtrack (by The Roots) and moving archival footage bring to life the history of black resistance. Night Catches Us is required viewing for anyone looking to place the events of today in a relevant historical context. Of special note are the heartfelt performances from the top-notch cast, including newcomer Jamara Griffin, whose portrayal of Patty's 10-year old daughter provides the lens through which much of the action is so thoughtfully observed.
Directed by Tanya Hamilton, U.S.A., 2010, 35mm, 90 mins.