A THOUSAND AND ONE
Director: A.V. Rockwell
2023, 117min., R
Screenwriter: A. V. Rockwell
Cast: Teyana Taylor, Will Catlett, Josiah Cross, Aven Courtney.
This year, the Sundance Film Festival awarded its Grand Jury Prize to A Thousand and One, written and directed by the second-only black woman to win. A. V. Rockwell was praised for her filmmaking and for diving into the poverty and unjust society not seen since Omar walked the streets of Baltimore in The Wire. Singer Teyana Taylor slays in her first starring role as a young woman released from Rikers, who wants to start over as a beautician. When she sees a 6 year old boy wandering the streets she recognizes him as Terry, the child she was forced to give up. Learning that he’s neglected by his fosters, she kidnaps Terry with a fake birth certificate and the incompetence of the city government. But after 11 years of a new life in a gentrifying Harlem with a new man and a bright, motivated son, her world is threatened by a social system that seems fixed on keeping poor people down. “[Rockwell’s] film is not a drug-slanging, shoot-’em-up bang-bang tale. It’s about love, sacrifice and then more love” – D. Watkins, Salon.com