Jul 18 2013

Fruitvale Station Humanizes Young Black Men Through Intimate Portrayal of Oscar Grant’s Last Day

The story of Florida teen Trayvon Martin has once more exposed America’s deep racial divide – a divide that exists in part because our culture tends to dehumanize young black men.

Now, a timely new film called Fruitvale Station has earned rave reviews for its portrayal of 22 year old Oscar Grant, the young black man who was killed by a white BART police officer on New Year’s day 2009.

The film, written and directed by 27 year old Oakland native, Ryan Coogler, won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Festival.

Filmed in a documentary style, Oscar Grant, played by Michael B. Jordan, goes about his daily life, starting with a morning cuddle with his girlfriend and daughter, driving to the grocery store to buy crabs for his mother (played by Octavia Spencer), trying to figure out how to pay the rent, attending his mother’s birthday party, and finally heading to San Francisco with friends to celebrate the New Year.

As the film progresses, Oscar Grant’s inevitable end creates a palpable tension during the film, humanizing Oscar and enabling viewers to mourn a man they can imagine knowing intimately.

GUEST: Ryan Coogler, writer and director of Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station is showing at the Arclight Hollywood in Southern California and in theaters around the nation.

Watch a trailer of the film:

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