Black & White & Red All Over

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


In a world where nothing is black or white, films often try to categorize by using labels of right or wrong. People’s urge to put things into arbitrary compartments is fueled by reasons ranging from personal insecurities to incessant indoctrination by the media. Black & White & Red All Over provides an insightful and intensely entertaining inquiry into these tendencies and how they relate to black culture on both personal and universal levels.

Set in the near future and something like hyperreality, the film focuses on a group of six friends who laugh, argue, and get high, most of them choosing to ignore the fact that black-on-black violence is severely diminishing their population. A murder forces them to analyze their situation and examine their individual identities or face the consequences of possible self-annihilation. The entire film takes place in the apartment of one of the group, where the world of music, television, and marijuana provides them with escapes from the cold reality of the outside world. Each character represents an ideological section of black culture without shrinking to a stereotype.

The beauty of the film comes from its ability to blend extreme style with heightened realism by combining an examination of social and racial issues with refreshingly authentic dialogue and characterizations. Black & White & Red All Over neither condemns nor excuses the actions of these characters but rather develops them as multidimensional individuals who must come to grips, on their own terms, with the paths they are headed down.An ensemble piece with outstanding performances, Black & White & Red All Over is as light and amusing on the surface as it is dark and foreboding in its underpinnings. Cowritten and directed by DeMane Davis, Harry McCoy, and Khari Streeter, this film creates a unique vision.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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