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Cycles (1989)

As a woman anxiously awaits her overdue period, she performs African-based rituals of purification. She cleans house and body, and calls on the spirits (Orishas in the Yoruba tradition), ... See full synopsis »

Writer:

Doris Owanda Johnson (story) (as Doris-Owanda Johnson)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Stephanie Ingram Stephanie Ingram ... Rasheeda Allen
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marc Arthur Chéry Marc Arthur Chéry
Zeinabu irene Davis ... Dream Character
Doris Owanda Johnson Doris Owanda Johnson
Marie Kellier Marie Kellier ... (voice)
Quinta Seward Quinta Seward ... (voice)
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Storyline

As a woman anxiously awaits her overdue period, she performs African-based rituals of purification. She cleans house and body, and calls on the spirits (Orishas in the Yoruba tradition), receiving much needed inspiration and assurance in a dream. The film combines beautifully intimate still and moving images of the womans body and home with playful stop-motion sequences.Jacqueline Stewart (17 mins, B&W, DigiBeta transfer from 16mm)

from: L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema BAM/PFA

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Genres:

Short

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 February 2003 (USA) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Exquisite, joyous, unforgettable

"Erzulie... Erzulie... Erzulie..." Film begins with this whispered Goddess invocation. Our heroine is undergoing the rite experienced by all women: awaiting the arrival of her period. It's late this month, and so, she decides to spend the entire day cleaning her home meticulously.

We see her beautifully arranged household altar, with joss sticks burning & fresh flowers, and we understand that this is not mere housework, but rather a conscious act of ritual purification. As she cleans her home, we hear the occasional comments of her sisters: "Progress is being made." "You're doing all right, and you're gonna get better." Having cleaned her home, she luxuriates in a contemplative bath, then retires to her bed and a night filled with magical dreams. The morning heralds the beginning of a new cycle.

This little masterpiece uniquely celebrates the female cycle. A joy to watch, it will remain with you forever after. Exquisitely filmed in glorious black & white. I was fortunate to see this short film showcased on a PBS program hosted by Lee Grant. Make a point of catching this sublime offering if you get the chance!


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