Losing Ground (1982)
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The first feature film directed by a black woman, Losing Ground failed to get a wide release in 1982 and has only fairly recently been made available to cinephiles, but as it must have played in New York, I would bet it was seen and appreciated by directors like Spike Lee (it evokes She's Gotta Have It, for me) and Cheryl Dunye (as The Watermelon Woman also uses dance as part of its vocabulary). This relationship drama catches up with a philosophy professor married to a painter. She's analytical and structured, he has a bohemian spirit that's making him drift away from her. Notably, at the start of the film, she teaches Sartre's No Exit, which evokes two people suffering each other's presence, but then we see her research the ecstatic experience, as a way to get closer to her husband's mindset. The growing estrangement and research leads her to star in an indie film, a story told through movement rather than dialog, and brings her closer to "ecstasy", i.e. losing herself in the moment/art, and at the end of a marital last act story, gives her and us shocking catharsis, even as it picks apart the very idea of ecstasy as it relates to the husband's behavior. Some sound problems highlight its own indie nature, but this definitely needs to be seen by more people, and more than just because it features non-white/anglo characters in atypical roles.
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In 2 official lists
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This movie ranks #14 in Slate's The Black Film Canon
This movie ranks #848 in Library of Congress's National Film Registry