Art student Pica sees so many young black men in her neighbourhood die, often as a result of drug-related murders, that she decides to photograph them with her Polaroid camera while they are still around – like recording a species threatened by extinction. The violence – there’s also a mysterious serial killer active – comes scarily close when an innocent, good friend of hers becomes a victim.

Yet here in Drylongso (slang for 'ordinary, everyday') it’s not about the men, but primarily about Pica herself, who is trying to keep going in a dysfunctional family with little money, and about her warm friendship with Tobi, another young African-American woman who is largely left to her own devices. This low-budget film picked up awards at various festivals, and can now be seen in a new 16mm print and provides an honest, wayward and eventually hopeful glimpse of a community in the Californian city of Oakland, where violence has become commonplace.

See also Sojourner, Black Utopia LP and compilation programme Calling Planet Earth.

Filmmaker
Cauleen Smith
Country
USA
Year
1998
Medium
16mm
Length
82’
Language
English
Producer
Cauleen Smith
Sales
Academy Film Archive
Writer
Salim Akil, Cauleen Smith
Cinematography
Andrew Black
Editor
Cauleen Smith
Production Design
Richard Bracho, Gabrielle Stover
Music
Curt Harpel, Pat Thomi
Cast
Toby Smith, April Barnett, Will Power, Channel Schafer, Salim Akil, Stacy Marbrey, Keith Williams