Hale County This Morning, This Evening
$12 General Admission
Shot over a period of five years, RaMell Ross’s remarkable directorial debut freely mixes forms, footage, and subjects to create an evocation of a place and its inhabitants. As its title, Hale County This Morning, This Evening, suggests, it is firmly rooted in a locale, that of the small-town Hale County, Alabama. It follows two young black men from the region: Daniel Collins, an aspiring college basketball player, and Quincy Bryant, a new father focused on raising his son.
Without sacrificing the necessary intimacy and fidelity required to represent these disparate yet emotionally aligned stories of promise, Ross fashions something incredibly elliptical, focused on the rhythms rather than the specific moments of this milieu. The passage of time is conveyed through montages that place different aspects of life side-by-side, intertitles that tantalize more than they explain, and above all Ross’s striking camerawork, which envisions this impoverished location as a site of possibility and spontaneity. Hale County is ultimately a work deeply imbedded in its place and time, and that it manages to convey both this and an utterly unexpected feeling is more than a little astonishing.
Description courtesy of Ryan Swen.
“It’s not every day that you witness a new cinematic language being born, but watching RaMell Ross’s evocatively titled documentary Hale County This Morning, This Evening qualifies.” – Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice
“RaMell Ross is the Tarkovsky of this hemisphere. A breathtaking, contemplative film emerges from deep within the complex reality of being Black in America, elevating the documentary medium to new heights.” – Sheena Matheiken
“Ross has a preternatural talent for capturing moments, souls, and unorthodox time-lapses. Every shot seems to maximize the cinematographic potential of the scene through dexterous camerawork, while excellent sound collaging matches the scattered but chain-linked visuals. This is a man overflowing with vision.” – Theo Schear, Film Threat
“Ross is referring to African-Americans like himself (and your humble reviewer) and the way we are depicted, interpreted and observed by American society. Hale County This Morning, This Evening is all about how perception changes depending on whose gaze is being reflected and how informed the owner of that gaze is… As a record of African-American imagery, it’s not just an evaluation of ‘how we are seen,’it’s also a corrective that replaces stereotypes with visual poetry.” – Odie Henderson, RogerEbert.com