Review: ‘Strange Fruit’

Intended as a thoughtful examination of depression and despair among the economically disadvantaged, "Strange Fruit" proves too diffuse and elliptical to be of more than academic interest. Subject may generate enough curiosity to ensure wide fest exposure, but even sympathetic auds will note meandering pic's inability to provide fresh insight or emotional catharsis.

Intended as a thoughtful examination of depression and despair among the economically disadvantaged, “Strange Fruit” proves too diffuse and elliptical to be of more than academic interest. Subject may generate enough curiosity to ensure wide fest exposure, but even sympathetic auds will note meandering pic’s inability to provide fresh insight or emotional catharsis.

Taking his title from the classic Billie Holiday song about Deep South lynchings, filmmaker Regis Trigano considers the tragedy of Ray Golden, a 32-year-old African-American whose hanging death is judged a suicide by officials in the Florida backwater of Belle Glade. While Golden’s skeptical relatives push for independent investigation, Trigano intercuts with scenes from day-to-day life in the nearby housing project where Shirley, an obese and unemployed mother of seven, worries about her son Keith, a depressed youngster who admits to suicidal urgings. It’s a bit too obvious Trigano wants auds to recognize in Keith’s fatalism the early stages of a toxic despair that could have overwhelmed Golden. (Evidence indicates Golden actually did kill himself.) Unfortunately, efforts to make connections between two case studies feel forced. Tech values are spotty.

Strange Fruit

Production

A Trooper Films presentation of a Paradise Films production. Produced, directed by Regis Trigano.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Ken Sueng; editor, Jamie Canobbio. Reviewed at South by Southwest Film Festival (competing), March 16, 2005. Running time: 90 MIN.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading