Black Mother, 2018, Khalik Allah © Viennale

Black Mother (2018)

Regie: Khalik Allah. 77 min
In Black Mother collagiert der Fotograf Khalik Allah aus Filmmaterial von VHS über 16mm bis digital eine gegenwärtige und zugleich historische Bestandsaufnahme Jamaikas. Auf der konsequent vom Bild entkoppelten Tonspur legen die porträtierten Menschen Zeugnis ab von der (post)kolonialen schwarzen Identität der Karibikinsel. Zwischen den Extremen einer tief verwurzelten Spiritualität, der Symbolik schwarzer Mutterschaft und der harten Realität der Prostituierten in Kingston entfaltet der Film ein Bild von der Armut wie vom Reichtum des Inselstaats jenseits klischeehafter Reggaefolklore. (B. K.)

This vivid cinematographic scrapbook offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of contemporary Jamaica: warring sects of politics and religion, indigenous and cosmopolitan influences, the role of food and family, the beauty of nature and the decadence of culture. At the centre of this collage is the figure, both real and mythical, of the black mother. Khalik Allah practices a first-person cinema. His camera-eye may switch from black-and-white to colour, and from one film gauge to another, but his vision of the world in which he is immersed remains intimate and constant. He is willing to record the traces of all ideological and spiritual persuasions, but his sympathies for the oppressed underclasses are perfectly clear. Placing almost all the images and sounds out of synchronization, he further uses soundtrack loops and audio treatments to stylise his often startlingly direct mosaic of everyday life. Images recur and enter into evershifting configurations, almost like in a Terrence Malick movie. Eschewing the usual documentary emphasis on performed and recorded reggae music in Jamaica, Allah uses hymns and popular standards as sung, with enviable gusto, by his remarkable span of participants. (Adrian Martin)