August the First | Chicago Reader

August the First

In this self-assured debut feature, director Lanre Olabisi comes up with a novel twist on the typical broken home: instead of a black inner-city clan struggling to survive without a father, his comfortable family in suburban New Jersey is thrown for a loop when the patriarch who's abandoned them (D. Rubin Green) returns home after a decade in Africa. Invited back by his younger son (Ian Alsup) for a graduation ceremony, dad encounters hostility from his wife, his mother-in-law, and his other two children. His good manners can't mask a certain sinister aspect, but the other family members are so focused on their own pain that initially they can't fathom the threat he represents. Larry Hillier's restrained 16-millimeter photography underscores the actors' naturalism, with Alsup a standout. 81 min.

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