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AMERICAN FICTION

Director: CORD JEFFERSON

117 mins, USA, 2023, Digital

A brilliant Black author, tired of his culture being represented by crude, lazy stereotypes, takes it upon himself to pen a satirical lampoon in Cord Jefferson’s incendiary, insightful, and frequently hilarious debut feature, an adaptation of Percival Everett’s Erasure.

Los Angeles novelist Thelonious ‘Monk’ Ellison (Jeffrey Wright in his most expansive role yet) has returned home to Boston to confront his estranged family. Depressed and frustrated, he has failed to publish a book in years, primarily, according to his agent, because his literary output isn’t Black enough. Outraged by the sensational success of a young Black writer’s poverty-porn bestseller – We’s Lives in Da Ghetto – he writes his own pandering portrait of Black inner-city archetypes under a pseudonym to expose the shameless exploitation, only to find publishers lining up to buy the rights.

Notes by David O’Mahony

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