Sundance Review: The Stuart Hall Project


Director:John Akomfrah


Running Time:95 Minutes


Stuart Hall is a smart man. He is a genuinely interesting
person and a strong public speaker. But listening to any one person speak for
an hour and a half is more than a little difficult.

The Stuart Hall Project takes years of interviews with one of
Britain's most highly regarded intellectuals and tracks his life from his birth
in Jamaica to his experiences with racial inequality throughout the sixties and
seventies. Hall's words placed over vérité footage of race riots, plantation workers, and images from
Hall's own life presents a powerful story of a man who believes in equality and
acceptance of humanity's differences and similarities. The film is set to a soundtrack
of almost exclusively Miles Davis, a favorite of Hall's. The stylistic
decisions made by the director create a film that is more of a visual poem, a
loving tribute of a man who inspires much in those who hear his words.

Unfortunately, these
same stylistic decisions are, at times, the film's downfall. Hall's words are
full of truth and passion but do not always inspire excitement, and Miles
Davis' music, while brilliant, does not exactly inspire the viewer to actively
participate in the film. The footage underneath Hall's words is, at times, out
of context and unnecessary. At one point, a shot of a man that had nothing to
do with the story or themes was played twice back-to-back. If this film had had
a more focused editor, the intellect of Stuart Hall could shine through more


About Shayne Lechelt


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