Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021

METAL

Year: 1999
Country: United States
Run Time: 88 minutes

In an era when Tarantino and the Blair Witch are filmmaker role models, writer-director Christopher E. Brown instead dedicates METAL to the true pioneer of American independents, John Cassavetes. Unadorned, straightforward, and inarguable, it's a black-and-white ?hood? movie that uses Bach cello solos, not hip-hop, to set its emotional tone. Having grown up in a home wracked with violence and an absentee father, Ray promised himself he would never inflict such a curse on his own household. Now comes his greatest test, a prolonged stretch of unemployment from his job as a mechanic. Drawing a humiliating government benefit, forever tinkering in his driveway at a stalled pickup that refuses to be fixed, law-abiding Ray must watch as gangbangers and grifters drive past, jeering and successful, at the top of the food chain. As one of the few husbands visible in the ghetto, "Mister Ray" has a responsibility to uphold, but privately he grows sullen and distant from his wife and children. Not since Michael Roehmer's "Nothing But a Man" or Charles Burnett's "Killer of Sheep" has there been such a cinematic tribute to the African-American working poor and their dreams deferred.

Screenplay
Christopher E. Brown.

Director
Christopher E. Brown

Producer
Adryenn Ashley.

Cinematography
Andy Lilien.

Editing
Christopher E. Brown.

Principal Cast
Wendrell James, Venilla Porter, Khafrek James, R. Tyrone Fields, Andre C. Andre.

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