Tuesday, January 29, 2019

"Traveling While Black": NYTimes and Oculus present a VR film supplementing "The Green Book"

Brent Staples, in a comprehensive New York Times article, presents a twenty-minute film by Roger Ross Williams, “Traveling While Black”, in virtual reality 360 (requires a smart phone with glasses;  on a computer it shows in normal Cinemascope). The film comes from Oculus, Felix and Paul (and I believe Annapurna).

Here’s a YouTube trailer.

Some of the people are Sandy Butler Truesdale, Virginia Ali, Samaria Rice.

Many of the participants discuss their experiences in Ben’s Child Bowl, at 13th and U Sts NW in Washington FC, near the Lincoln Theater. It opened in the 1930s.  In more recent times it has also become popular in the gay community (Reel Affirmations), especially filmmakers and artists.
Until the 1960s and the Civil Rights movement, black travelers were forced to the last car on a train when passing into Virginia, and were not allowed bathroom access.

In practice travel was very difficult.  Some say it still is.

The film supplements “The Green Book” (by Victor Hugo Green), which as an index of accommodations for black people during segregation, even in the North.  That became the basic of a film by that name (my review). 
The impressionistic jazz music score is by Jason Moran.

This film was shown at Ben's Chili Bowl for FilmFestDC. 

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