MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 11,456 this week

Family Name (1997)

7.5
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 29 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 5 critic

A gay man seeks to discover what kinship, if any, exists between his white family and the nearby blacks who share the name of Alston.

Director:

Writers:

(narration written by), (narration written by)
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

Editors' Spotlight

Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street

Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street Debut's Today!


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 125 titles
created 19 Mar 2011
 
a list of 949 titles
created 10 Nov 2011
 
a list of 834 titles
created 21 Jan 2012
 
a list of 24 titles
created 13 Oct 2012
 
a list of 8710 titles
created 25 Mar 2013
 

Related Items

Search for "Family Name" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Family Name (1997)

Family Name (1997) on IMDb 7.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Family Name.
3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

L (2012)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

It's absurd not to trust me.

Director: Babis Makridis
Stars: Aris Servetalis, Efthymis Papadimitriou, Lefteris Matthaiou
1 (2009)
Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A bookshop renowned for its rare works is mysteriously and completely filled with copies of a book entitled 1, which doesn't appear to have a publisher or author. The strange almanac ... See full summary »

Director: Pater Sparrow
Stars: Zoltán Mucsi, László Sinkó, Pál Mácsai
4 II (2005)
Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Two men and a woman happen to meet in a bar. We learn from their conversations both the intriguing and banal details of their lives. But is anyone really telling the truth? From the meat ... See full summary »

Director: Ilya Khrzhanovskiy
Stars: Shavkat Abdusalamov, Anatoli Adoskin, Aleksei Khvostenko
P (2005)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Whilst growing up in rural Thailand, a young orphan girl is taught the ways of magic by her grandmother. But when grandmother falls sick, Dau is lured to Bangkok to find work so that she ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Spurrier
Stars: Suangporn Jaturaphut, Dean Barrett, Shaun Delaney
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

7-year old Steven Stayner is kidnapped a few days before Christmas by Kenneth Parnell. Under the belief that Parnell has been given legal custody of him, and that his family has moved away,... See full summary »

Director: Larry Elikann
Stars: Cindy Pickett, John Ashton, Corin Nemec
60 Minutes (TV Series 1968)
Documentary | News
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The premiere television News magazine.

Stars: Andrew Rooney, Lesley Stahl, Steve Kroft
R (2010)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The R of the title stands for the young protagonist, Rune, fearlessly played by Pilou Asbæk. Imprisoned for violent assault, he's a cocky, good-looking young man placed in the hardcore ward... See full summary »

Directors: Tobias Lindholm, Michael Noer
Stars: Pilou Asbæk, Dulfi Al-Jabouri, Roland Møller
Babylon 5 (1994–1998)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A space station in neutral territory is the focus of a unique five year saga.

Stars: Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Richard Biggs
V (2009–2011)
Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An extraterrestrial race arrives on Earth with seemingly good intentions, only to slowly reveal their true machinations the more ingrained into society they become.

Stars: Elizabeth Mitchell, Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel's regime.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
Macky Alston ...
Himself / Narrator
William Badgett ...
Rev. Primus Alston (as Will Badgett)
Edit

Storyline

A gay man seeks to discover what kinship, if any, exists between his white family and the nearby blacks who share the name of Alston.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 August 1997 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Stunning Documentary Meditation On Family History, Secrets, Truth and more...
13 January 2004 | by (Chapel Hill, NC, USA) – See all my reviews

I would highly recommend FAMILY NAME if you can catch it - it still is unavailable on DVD or VHS (which is terribly unfortunate) - I would confess to having a bias (my last name being Alston), but it still stands out as a remarkable piece of documentary film-making.

Overall FAMILY NAME is a family-tree project on a grand, vast scale - an attempt at tracing the 'black' and 'white' sides of a family linked by an uncommon surname (Alston), resulting in a film both meticulous in its' detail, and hypnotic in it's unhurried artistry. Along the way, 'Family Name' also serves as a meditation on family secrets both racial and sexual, as Macky Alston is an out gay filmmaker, and also the product of a Southern Baptist family active in the struggle for racial equality in the American South. A bit like William Faulkner reimagined by Tsai Ming-liang, this documentary reveals its' secrets slowly, as Alston works elliptically around central North Carolina collecting interviews and personal histories, interspersing historical investigation and reportage as he locates the American point of origin of the name in Chatham County, just south of Durham and Chapel Hill, NC. Along the way Alstons both black and white, drawn from across the American economic spectrum flesh out bits of the story, showcasing (or adding context around) family notables like Romare Bearden (an Alston cousin who became a celebrated painter during the Harlem renaissance) in the process.

Alston - who is present, though usually off-camera - has a quiet, mildly cerebral dignity that underscores the meditative quality of the film, and his quiet suggestion that the reluctance in some family members to ponder the racial divide running through a family with a complex history is similar to the reluctance to reveal certain essential elements (like ones' sexual orientation), out of fear of rejection or offense. The suggestion is that the mindful revelation of (or at least refection upon) either represents a true route towards an enlightened view of one's own history and heritage. In this frame of mind, FAMILY NAME must also be singled out as one of the finest 'Southern' films I've ever seen - presenting individuals who embody a region facing a warts-and-all history, with a single minded determination to grow and move on, shattering a list of regional stereotypes even while drenched in the 'atmosphere' the region is famed and romanticized for.

My review might be a touch biased, but so be it. This is a great film, much deserving of a wider audience. Let's hope a home video release happens soon.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVD available dls-16
Discuss Family Name (1997) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?