Spring 2015 Features series
Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 4:00pm
Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 7:00pm
Directed by Ava DuVernay
Screenplay by Paul Webb
Starring David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, and Tim Roth
Rated PG ·
UK / USA
On the afternoon of March 7, 1965, Alabama state troopers and members of a Dallas County posse, armed with clubs, cattle prods and tear gas, attacked civil rights demonstrators on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The marchers had planned to walk the 50 miles to Montgomery, the state capital, as part of a long-building protest against the denial of basic voting rights to Southern blacks. The procession would have crossed Lowndes County, where not a single African-American voter had been registered in more than 60 years. Efforts to change this had been met with bureaucratic obstruction, intimidation and lethal brutality, including the killing, a week earlier, of Jimmie Lee Jackson, a 26-year-old laborer and protester, by a state trooper.
A few days later, a second march, led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., turned back rather than risk further violence. By the time the third, ultimately successful effort left Selma on March 21, President Lyndon B. Johnson, pushed by Dr. King and televised images of official brutality as well as by his own political and moral instincts, had introduced the Voting Rights Act in a nationally televised address to Congress.
Selma is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay (Middle of Nowhere) tells the real story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo, Lincoln, The Help) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history. Up for two Oscars, the film has already garnered 32 awards and 70 nominations.
“Ms. DuVernay, writes history with passionate clarity and blazing conviction. (The cinematographer, Bradford Young, captures its shadows and its glow.) Even if you think you know what’s coming, Selma hums with suspense and surprise. Packed with incident and overflowing with fascinating characters, it is a triumph of efficient, emphatic cinematic storytelling. And much more than that. Selma is not a manifesto, a battle cry or a history lesson. It’s a movie: warm, smart, generous and moving in two senses of the word. It will call forth tears of grief, anger, gratitude and hope. And like those pilgrims on the road to Montgomery, it does not rest.” (A.O. Scott, The New York Times)
“Known for her superb indie dramas, DuVernay has proven herself a master of small, intimate moments. Selma never loses focus on the interpersonal dynamics between King and his followers, his detractors and his family.” (Odie Henderson, RogerEbert.com)
“There are several reasons to see Selma—for its virtuosity and scale, scope and sheer beauty. But then there are its lessons, which have to do with history, but also today: Selma invites viewers to heed its story, meditate on its implications and allow those images once again to change our hearts and minds.” (Ann Hornaday, Washington Post)