Ava DuVernay Returns With ‘Origin’: A Deep Dive into American Racism - INTERNERDZ.COM

Ava DuVernay Returns With ‘Origin’: A Deep Dive into American Racism

Distinguished director Ava DuVernay makes a triumphant return to the realm of feature filmmaking with ‘Origin’, a movie loosely adapted from Isabel Wilkerson’s influential book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. The movie presents a heartfelt narrative of love and loss, while delving deep into the societal implications of American racism.

Known for bringing to life the emotional journeys of Black women, DuVernay’s previous works like ‘I Will Follow’, ‘Middle of Nowhere’, and ‘Selma’, have reflected upon the behavioural patterns and struggles of Black women, often shaped by structural and interpersonal constraints. ‘Origin’ continues this exploration with a fresh lens.

The film’s source material, Caste, is a comprehensive, scholarly book that provides a critical framework for understanding the perpetuation of American racism. To extract the essence of Wilkerson’s work, DuVernay focuses on the personal events that inspired the author to write Caste, fashioning ‘Origin’ as a process film. The story also unfolds a poignant love story, enriched by the performances of Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor and Jon Bernthal.

Despite the movie’s deep and complex narrative, its strength lies in the intricate representation of Isabel’s relationships with her family and her work. The audience is offered a glimpse into the suspense-filled world of journalism, along with the emotional intensity of a family drama. Ellis-Taylor’s portrayal of Isabel is a balance between strength and vulnerability, a portrayal of a Black woman navigating her grief and seeking outlets for it.

As Isabel embarks on her worldwide travels, interviewing individuals about caste implications on their lives, and engaging in dialogues with her editor, the audience is given an insight into how grief moulded the creation of the book. It’s a familiar tale of a woman rediscovering herself after a tragedy, but DuVernay succeeds in making it uniquely her own with ‘Origin’.

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