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My favourite films from BIPOC directors

By Feronia Ding





Moonlight (2016)

A tender coming-of-age story about a young boy discovering his sexuality, ‘Moonlight’ captures the aching want for acceptance, and the hardships faced when growing up Black in a rough area. The film is set in 3 stages: childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, with each section exploring themes of masculinity, survival, and love. Originally an unpublished semi-autobiographical play titled ‘In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue’ by Tarell Alvin McCraney, it was adapted into a film by director Barry Jenkins who has artfully depicted the loneliness of being different in this world, and the courage it takes to know you are deserving of love anyway.


The Farewell (2019)

Lulu Wang’s ‘The Farewell’ has touched me in more ways than I can explain, it is one of the only films in existence that has made me feel seen in a way that few others have achieved. Based on Wang’s own experiences, the film follows Bili, a young woman who discovers her grandma has been given a terminal diagnosis and her struggle with the fact that her family has chosen not to tell her. Wang poses the question: is this choice kind, or cruel? She strikes a balance between comical dialogue and serious reflection, which ultimately really adds to the overall message of the film: family is complex. Poignant, reverent, and moving, ‘The Farewell’ is a film that will stay with you for a long time after your first viewing.


What We Do in the Shadows

Co-directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ is a delightful, satirical mockumentary featuring several vampires who share a flat in Wellington. The film’s clever usage of the cast’s fantastic chemistry is the absolute highlight, with both Waititi and Clement’s witty humour shining through. They have ultimately created a hilarious and energetic movie that deserves much more praise and appreciation than it has received. Whether you’re looking for a film that will cheer you up, or something entertaining to watch with friends, ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ will not be a regrettable choice.


A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Shot entirely in black and white, ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’ is set in an Iranian ghost town, Bad City, and follows the townspeople who are unaware they are being stalked by a vampire. Specifically, the vampire (The Girl) targets men who mistreat women. The contrast between the implied threat and vulnerability felt in the title of the film and the retaliation of The Girl against forces that seek to dominate and subjugate is simply fantastic. The film is ripe for allegorical readings: some believe it represents the role of Muslim women in society, as the vampire wears a chador (a head covering cloak worn by many Muslim women within Iran), though Amirpour has neither confirmed nor denied this. To conclude, it’s an excellent film that has a really compelling atmospheric setting and message.


Sorry to Bother You

Boots Riley’s first feature film, ‘Sorry to Bother You’ is a captivating, terrifying and colourful take on anticapitalism. It features Cassius “Cash” Green, who works as a telemarketer and discovers the secret to success – to put on his “white voice”, this mirrors the very real issue of people of colour and especially Black people often needing to cater to their white counterparts for them to either simply stay safe, or flourish in a business setting. However, ‘Sorry to Bother You’ portrays this in a humorous and visually experimental way. Overall, the film does not shy away at all from the core of capitalism: exploiting others in order to succeed and explores this idea in a really interesting and engaging way.


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