RYAN COOGLER | USA | 2013 | 85 MIN | R
Before they rejuvenated the Rocky franchise with CREED and roared into the Marvel Universe with BLACK PANTHER, director Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan made their names with this day-in-the-life portrait of Oscar Grant, a young Oakland man shot and killed by transit police in 2009. The breakout title of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Coogler’s debut feature focuses on the mundane yet portentous events leading up to Grant’s death, from trying to win back his job at a supermarket to picking up his young daughter from daycare to attending his mother’s (Octavia Spencer) birthday party, all before the fateful train ride stopping at the titular Fruitvale Station. Released in the wake of the killing of Trayvon Martin, the film has only gained power and relevance in the intervening years as the American justice system continues to struggle with systemic racism and police violence against unarmed African Americans. FRUITVALE STATION is an essential, empathetic depiction of the complex life of an ordinary man that underscores the all-too-commonplace tragedy of his death.
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Ahna O’Reilly
“Intimate in the best way, thanks largely to Jordan’s deft, responsive performance.” –The Village Voice
American cinema has always held a mirror to the country’s ever-changing cultural and political landscape, giving the American people a chance to experience their deepest fears and loftiest ambitions magnified by the power of the silver screen. With State of the Union, PFS invites audiences to explore the country’s past and imagine its future through films that rigorously examine American leaders, institutions, and values while still being great works of entertainment.