Once Upon a Time... When We Were Colored [1995]

Tim Reid's wonderful film about life in the black neighborhood of Glen Allan, Mississippi, from the mid-'40s to the dawn of the civil rights movement, is thick with terrific, inspired actors and possessed of a mature, limpid visual style. The story is told from the point of view of a young boy raised by his stalwart grandfather and his kind aunt. But the collective tale of a community coming to terms with the risks it must take to fight racism and achieve political rights is equally important and compelling. Beautifully written (based on the autobiographical novel by Clifton Taubert), Reid's vision is rich in scenes of ritual and community that have rarely, if ever, been revealed on film. This is more than just a good movie; it's a watershed event in this nation's cultural history. --Tom Keogh

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