Cousin Bobby | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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A fascinating and highly moving documentary by Jonathan Demme about his cousin Robert Castle, whom he hadn't seen for 30 years when he started making this film. A 60-year-old white Episcopal minister working in Harlem with a multiracial and multidenominational congregation, Castle is a passionately committed community organizer who started out in Jersey City and forged strong links with the Black Panthers and other radical organizations of the 60s and 70s. He comes across as something of a saint--unpretentious and unself-conscious, though by no means simple--and this unpreachy film, which also shows us a lot of Demme and his developing friendship with his cousin, is similarly direct and unaffected. Some of our questions about Castle's peripatetic family life are left unanswered, and it's not clear precisely where home movie is meant to shade off into political document, but such ambiguity carries a certain charm and conviction; at the end one simply feels grateful to have spent some time with these people (1991). (Music Box, Friday through Thursday, June 26 through July 2)

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