Blind Faith

Director: Ernest Dickerson
Screenwriters: Frank Military

Institute History

  • 1998 Sundance Film Festival


Well-crafted dramas focusing on African-American families are still a rarity, which in this day and age is a travesty. Thus Ernest Dickerson’s period piece,Blind Faith, set in the 1950s, is exceptional for a number of reasons, but foremost for its overall excellence in execution. With absolutely sterling performances from its first-rate cast, along with terrific dialogue and scenarios, Blind Faith transcends the limitations of usual cop/courtroom melodrama and literally resonates with emotional power and purpose.

The story centers around an attorney, John Williams (Courtney B. Vance), and his two brothers, Charles (Charles S. Dutton) and Eddie (Kadeem Hardison). Charles is the acknowledged patriarch of the family, a respected police officer with a conservative outlook and demeanor in line with the white institutions he must work with. When his son is arrested and accused of murdering a white boy, his brother John must take on the impossible task of defending him in what appears to be a hopeless case since Charles, Jr., has confessed. What follows taxes all the family bonds as John and Charles confront the ugly racially and ethnically loaded realities and attitudes that will determine the outcome of the trial.

As an inquiry into the conflicting ideologies and value systems that are often presumed to be uniform in the black community, Blind Faith is potent and edifying storytelling that deserves accolades for all its creators. Dickerson deserves particular credit for the marvelous style he brings to this very contemporary vision.

Ernest Dickerson, Director
Ernest Dickerson, a native of Newark, New Jersey, studied architecture at Howard University and received a graduate degree in film production from NYU. From 1983 to 1991, he worked as a cinematographer for directors Spike Lee, John Sayles, John McNaughton,. Jonathan Demme, and Robert Townsend on such films as Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, The Brother from Another Planet, Raw, and Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll. In 1991 he began directing. His films include Juice, Surviving the Game and Demon Knight.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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