Friday, 15 April 2016


Life through the living lens, a film both by and about the same people. A piece of pure poetry, Field Niggas, like the best poetry, finds beauty in truth and exposes truth in beauty. Khalik Allah's richly enveloping mise-en-scene is uncommonly expressive, setting sound and image askew in pursuit of communicating the most detail in the fewest movements. Each image bears with it the reality of the situation it captures, and the infinite possibilities of historical, cultural, societal, potential causes and effects of its content, itself burgeoning with depth of detail in Allah's inquisitive yet nurturing slow-motion. And each line on the soundtrack bears equal import; combine sound and image and the impact is doubled; set them apart in any variety of ways and the impact is doubled again. Allah makes provocative, perceptive, perplexing associations in this juxtaposition - so too will your mind, allowing Field Niggas not only to represent raw reality but raw thought, assumption and opinion. Such a simple technical gambit only succeeds due to the power of what is presented through it, a cultural microcosm that directly infers any number of meanings. This is real life, and often really hard life, that's meaningful to witness and much more so to experience. It's ethnological analysis and commentary, but never judgement. Allah makes a subject of himself, and portrays his process as merely one more form of artistic expression among many to have sprung from the streets, as a black person in America. Field Niggas shows life from the inside, a world that is fundamentally dark-skinned, a near-absolute vision, with few identifiable comparators. Bleak, unrelenting, and a little monotonous, it's poetry in slow-motion.