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Join Miami Herald staff writer Jacqueline Charles and Cosford manager Rene Rodriguez for a screening and discussion of George Tillman Jr’s SOUL FOOD (1997).

JACQUELINE CHARLES has reported on Haiti and the English-speaking Caribbean for the Miami Herald for over a decade. A Pulitzer Prize finalist for her coverage of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, she was awarded a 2018 Maria Moors Cabot Prize — the most prestigious award for coverage of the Americas.

 

SOUL FOOD | DIRECTED BY: George Tillman Jr | USA | 1997 | 1H 55M | RATED R

Twenty-eight-year-old writer-director George Tillman Jr. drew autobiographical inspiration from his upbringing in Milwaukee, and on a well-spent $6.5 million budget he succeeded where similar films (including Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back) fell short: He depicts his many characters with such depth and sympathy that, by the time they have weathered several family crises, we’ve come to care and feel for them and the powerful ties that bind them together. As seen through the eyes of Tillman’s young alter ego Ahmad (Brandon Hammond), the film primarily focuses on the rivalries and affections that rise and fall among Ahmad’s mother (Vivica A. Fox) and her two sisters (Vanessa L. Williams, Nia Long). Through them, and through the weekly Sunday dinners cooked with love by their mother, Big Mama (Irma P. Hall), we witness marital bliss and distress, infidelity, success, failure… in short, the spices of life both bitter and sweet. But when Big Mama falls into a diabetic coma, Ahmad watches as his family begins to fall apart without the stability and love that Big Mama provided with every Sunday meal.

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