Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Movie Review Plugged in – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, named after Ma Rainey’s classic song, also known as “The Mother of the Blues”, sounds like a typical musician biography at first glance. Ma Rainey, played by the Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis in the film, is particularly well-suited to mainstream cinema as she is one of the oldest voices of blues and one of the first professional African-American musicians. However, the film differs from its counterparts in that it is not a production that offers a wide panorama of the artist’s life, but an adaptation of the play written by August Wilson in 1982, which was first staged in 1984. Because this game is part of Wilson’s ten-part series known as the Pittsburgh Cycle, which records what it was like to be an African American in the 20th century. Since the film is adapted from a text that contains mostly fictional elements, it is positioned far from a typical musician’s biography, but the fact that director George C. Wolfe’s narrative preferences are too much to rely on the theater causes the work to turn into a work that explains all its problems through the lines.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Movie Review Plugged in – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; opens with the artist’s performance in the tent, where those who come to listen to him form a long queue in the woods. This performance, all performed in front of black audiences like Ma Rainey, is tied to another performance in a more upscale concert hall in Chicago by editing. Parallel to the transition that marks the sharp and inevitable rise in Rainey’s career, texts and black-and-white images invite blacks to the north, to the “promised lands”, which are said to have large job opportunities. These images also declare that this is not just a music film, but the experiences of the African-American community, more precisely what they are exposed to, will have an important place in the story; just like in the game it was adapted from.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: In the Land of the Promise
Our meeting with the other protagonist of the movie also takes place during the second performance. While Ma Rainey dominates the stage with his performance, the young trumpeter in the orchestra attempts to steal a role from him, and this triggers an unspeakable tension between the two, at least at the time. The trumpeter Levee, played by Chadwick Boseman, who passed away in the past months, is a person who appreciates innovation, creative freedom and is fond of appearance and women, as he presents signs on this stage. These qualities of Levee can be inferred from flirting with women, buying himself new shoes when we first see him, or taking the risk of coming late to the recording studio where the movie takes place. But the film explains in detail this information, which the audience has already learned to a great extent, during the entire orchestra spent in a claustrophobic rehearsal room on that hot day – which can be read as an indication of racism if the musicians worked there until Rainey’s arrival. Levee is distinguished from his older bandmates by having a more innovative attitude in terms of both musical and life and, unlike the others, he does not have belief in god. While this creates tension within the group, the systematic racism and violence they are all subjected to – the greater enemy they are all against, somehow dissolves this difference between them.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Movie Review Plugged in – After this block in which the dynamics of the group are explained at length, Ma Rainey enters the stage. Read for the impact of years of wear, Rainey is much more traditional musically. He is unwaveringly opposed to Levee’s new interpretations of the songs. Perhaps the biggest reason for this attitude is that he was able to have a say in the world of white people by playing his own music. Ma Rainey is such a great and powerful artist that despite the opposition of the white label owner, he can have his nephew who has difficulty speaking, announcing the songs on recordings; She can pause the recording until cold coke is brought to the studio on that hot day. She uses the power and sometimes arrogance that the artist comes to her position by scratching her nails with her nails to dominate everyone around her. She also expresses directly her relationship with whites in the scenes that we witness this situation, which resemble each other. Even this situation “They want my voice, not me.” arrives until he says. But we, in the audience position, can already sense a compact version of this situation, which is explained at length, from the argument that Rainey had with a police officer on the way to the recording studio and his stance before him. And yet, the preferences of director George C. Wolfe to give everything through dialogues both fall to the repetition of the movie itself and make it obsolete. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, a politically powerful production by making racism an important part of his narrative in America, cannot make cinematic discoveries as effective as the beginning of the movie, and he goes on a didactic path as he makes his characters tell all of his goals.
Despite all these negatives, the film offers an above average viewing experience. Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman have the most important share in this. The director’s opening up of a wide space for them as if he were on the theater stage allows them to perform exaggerated at times but pleasing to watch; The film finds its promised land in this area. In this context, we can say that the production owes a lot to Davis and Boseman, who filled every moment of its relatively short duration. Because in an alternative scenario in which they could not or could not exhibit all their skills, it is not even work that Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom turned into a highly didactic work of American history, which, despite all its good intentions, is enduring, especially for those who are distant to blues.