On Screen

The Historic Asolo Theater Is Celebrating Black History Month With a New Film Series

Beginning Thursday, Feb. 3, the theater will be presenting a mix of documentaries and feature films.

By Chloé Cuyler January 21, 2022

Black History Month is coming soon, and to celebrate the 28 days dedicated to the more than 400 years of African American history in the United States, the Historic Asolo Theater at The Ringling will be showcasing several Black movies—a combination of documentaries, dramas and adaptations. Here's what's playing:

First up in February is The Gospel According to André, a documentary that tells the story of the recently passed André Leon Tally. Anyone familiar with Vogue has probably heard of Tally, who operated as the magazine’s fashion news director and creative director. Tally also served as a judge on America’s Next Top Model. In this energetic and vibrant film, viewers get the chance to see the life of the fashion icon through interviews, photos and behind-the-scenes footage and discover how Tally became a prominent part of the fashion world. 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3

The next film to grace the screen will be Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am. Profiling one of the greatest writers in American literature, the movie gives a candid look into her life and how she became who she was. From a small-town girl in Lorain, Ohio, to teacher, to editor at Random House, to Nobel Prize winner, the movie chronicles how Morrison's love for words and the power they hold led to the creation of some of the 20th century’s most beautiful and controversial literary masterpieces. Interviews with Morrison, fellow authors and public figures like Angela Davis, Fran Lebowitz and Oprah Winfrey make for an intimate and candid documentary. 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4

Love Jones (named after an attraction to someone or something) is a romantic drama set in urban, jazzy Chicago. When two creative souls—Darius, a poet, and Nina, a photographer—have a chance encounter at an upscale nightclub, a passionate and explosive love is destined to follow. Or is it? The spark between the two artists is strong, but is it strong enough to withstand Nina reuniting with the ex-boyfriend for whom she never lost feelings? Love Jones stars Larenz Tate, Nia Long, and Isaiah Washington. 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17

Moonlight, the winner of the 2017 Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, features Janelle Monáe and Mahershala Ali in a coming-of-age drama that chronicles the life of one man as he journeys on a path to self-acceptance. Told in three stages, the film follows Chiron—a young man growing up in Liberty City, Miami—through childhood, adolescence and adulthood as he struggles to find his place, overcome his past and accept his sexuality. 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17

Having premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020, Sylvie’s Love is a romantic drama set against the jazz rhythms of 1950s and 1960s New York. During the summer of 1957, Sylvie and Robert are both working at Sylvie’s father’s record store. When Robert invites Sylvie to his jazz band’s performance, a passionate affair ensues, only to end abruptly when Robert and his band are offered a job in Paris. Five years later, the pair is reunited, but now Sylvie is married with a child. 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18

Cane River was thought to be lost for nearly 30 years, but the 1980s film was rediscovered in 2013 and restored and re-released in 2018. Written, directed and produced by Horace B. Jenkins, the movie centers around Peter and Maria, two passionate individuals from opposite sides of the tracks. Peter is a recent college graduate and football star who turned down a chance to go pro in favor of returning home to care for his wealthy family’s farm and write poetry. Maria, on the other hand, is a working-class tour guide destined for college and dreaming of leaving her little town behind. And while Maria has her reservations, a romance soon blooms as the two realize that some things are more important than class tensions and the way they are perceived by others. 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19

Based on Zora Neale Hurston's 1937 novel of the same name, Their Eyes Were Watching God stars Halle Berry and was produced by Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions. The movie tells the story of the headstrong and vibrant Janie, a young woman in 1920s Florida who is in love with love, but who struggles to find it as she navigates three marriages with distinctly different men until she finds herself “with her finger on the trigger of her own destiny." 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19

Rize is a documentary film that explores the art of “krumping,” a style of hip-hop dancing that developed in South Central, Los Angeles, at the beginning of the 21st century. Used as a means of self-expression and an emotional outlet, the dance is characterized by its exaggerated and in-your-face moves. Krumping has been credited for motivating young people to turn away from gangs, and Rize features interviews with notable members of the krumping community and footage of the dancers developing their craft. 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25

For more information on these films or to purchase tickets, call the Historic Asolo Theater at The Ringling at (941)360-7399 or visit the theater's website.

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