For The Love Of My People

Spotlight / Shoot Spotlight
Curtis Essel
1132797321
Rachel Brinton Matthews
Mar 19, 2019
In "For The Love Of My People", director Curtis Essel pays visual tribute to the poet, singer and theologian Jillian M. Brown. Exploring ideas around masculinity and identity, "For The Love Of My People" captures a wide range of male subjects from young to old, all filmed in their real world environments. Evolved from our Masculinity Undone trend, the film beautifully matches Brown’s poetry with pensive portraits that reflect a variety of "masculine" experiences.

Though written prior to the current discourse on toxic masculinity, Brown’s prose can be seen in this context to reflect these contemporary concerns, shedding light on what is "learned" from birth and the importance of self‑reflection. "I will study myself. To discern who I have become. I will see how my mind has been influenced, from the moment of my birth."

The beautiful composition of the film feeds the story; natural light breaks frame the faces of Barbers and Boxers, whilst low camera angles offer poise and power to young men as they take to their two‑wheeled steeds.

Media outlets are slowly beginning to challenge traditionally restrictive visual representations of men (Gillette "The Best A Man Can Be" as a recent example) and Curtis’ film is perfectly placed to further highlight this new discussion around masculinity, challenging damaging stereotypes and celebrating the variety of men and their life experiences.
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