Movie Review: The Last Black Man in San Francisco

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019 film poster).png
“LBMSF” opens to a sleepy, mournful, rhythmic foghorn – a sound that recurs in different incarnations and instrumentations throughout the film. We get the immediate sense of being in a fog-laced, wistful dream vision — one that laments the state of a once gentle and inclusive city, even as it celebrates its unparalleled beauty throughout with gorgeous cinematography. Indeed, this is a love letter to the City by the Bay, albeit a painful one that longs for an innocent past when free love, diversity, and equality were in abundance. Slow motion scenes combined with eclectic musical touches evoke a numbness and frozenness in time of the unrealized Black American Dream — the elegy of hope for a better life, the ideal that SF was founded on, is behind us and cannot be recovered.

There’s a painful irony in the story of an ethnic minority that migrated west during the gold rush, helped build this fine city, its ships, and its culture, yet has no quarter here a few generations on. The young Black men that gather on Danny Glover’s street in the Bayview – Hunter’s Point district, while offering moments of comic relief in this heavy screenplay seem eternally stuck in their street opera of insults, forever just one moment away from an eruption into real violence. One foggy day, one of them is in fact shot dead, and the dam of pain, sadness, and regret masked by toxic masculinity finally breaks and the community comes together, for a time. Nevertheless, we see that the Fails family isn’t totally victimized or absolved from responsibility in the father’s apparent drug abuse, or in Jimmy’s refusal to give up on stubborn delusions about his grandfather’s role in building this historic home. Then again, we’re all guilty of wanting to be connected to some special place in history.

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Published by CityFella

Big city fella, Born and Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lived in New York (a part time New Yorker) for three years . I have lived in the Sacramento area since 1993. When I first moved here, I hated it. Initially found the city too conservative for my tastes. A great place to raise children however too few options for adults . The city has grown up, there is much to do here. The city suffers from low self esteem in my opinion, locals have few positive words to say about their hometown. visitors and transplants are amazed at what they find here. From, the grand old homes in Alkali Flats, and the huge trees in midtown, there are many surprises in Sacramento. Theater is alive is this area . And finally ,there is a nightlife... In.downtown midtown, for the young and not so young. My Criticism is with local government. There is a shortage of visionaries in city hall. Sacramento has long relied on the state, feds and real estate for revenue. Like many cities in America,Downtown Sacramento was the hub of activity in the area. as the population moved to the suburbs and retail followed. The city has spent millions to revive downtown. Today less than ten thousand people live downtown. No one at city hall could connect the dots. Population-Retail. Business says Sacramento is challenging and many corporations have chosen to set up operations outside the cities limits. There is vision in the burbs. Sacramento has bones, there are many good pieces here, leaders seem unable or unwilling to put those pieces together into. Rant aside, I love it here. From the trees to the rivers. But its the people here that move me. Sacramento is one of the most integrated cities in America. I find I'm welcome everywhere. The spices work in this city of nearly 500,000 and for the most part these spices blend well together. From Ukrainians to Hispanics and a sizable gay community, all the spices seem to work well here. I frequently travel and occasionally I will venture into a city with huge racial borders, where its unsafe to visit after certain hours. I haven't found it here. I cant imagine living in a community where there is one hue or one spice. I love the big trees, Temple Coffee House, the Alhambra Safeway, Zelda's Pizza, Bicyclist in Midtown, The Mother Lode Saloon, Crest Theater, and the Rivers. I could go on and I might. Sacramento is home.

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