18 April 2024
Entertainment Movies

‘Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Mission’ Evaluate: An Afrofuturist Area Odyssey

Nikki Giovanni desires to die in zero gravity.

“We don’t have any poets in house,” she says in a speech featured in “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Mission,” a documentary concerning the elusive artist, directed by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson.

Giovanni wish to journey to the house station to report what she sees, including that, when it’s time for her to go, she will be able to merely be launched into the ether. This want — half jest, half real — drives the biographical undertaking, by which the administrators attempt to seize Giovanni’s legacy and her Afrofuturist imaginative and prescient for Black girls.

“Going to Mars” combines archival footage of Giovanni and moments in Black historical past, photographs of house and present-day interviews and speeches to color an expansive image of the poet’s evolution from younger firebrand to elder. Giovanni posits that viewers ought to flip to Black girls to find out about surviving in house due to our means to outlive all of the hardships thrown at us on Earth. All through, the scenes are punctuated by her poetry, learn by each Giovanni herself and the actress Taraji P. Henson.

The documentary provides solely what the poet is keen to provide. And Giovanni is a difficult topic: She has agency boundaries, and there are questions she refuses to reply. “You need me to go to someplace that I’m not going to go, as a result of it should make me sad,” she says in response to a query about her childhood. “I refuse to be sad about one thing I can do nothing about.”

But different instances Giovanni’s work speaks for itself. She gained’t talk about how she felt after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, as an illustration, however what follows is a robust rendering of her poem “Reflections on April 4, 1968,” by which she expresses anger over the injustice. Right here, and on the whole, viewers should fill in their very own blanks.

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Mission
Not rated. Working time: 1 hours 42 minutes. In theaters.