Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

I picked up a schedule for the Miami Film Festival when I went to the screening of 16Bars.  Scanning through the booklet, I knew right away I would be returning to see more films.  

The documentaries of recognizable figures stood out immediately.

I was first introduced to Toni Morrison when I read ‘The Bluest Eye’. It’s a  story of a young girl so traumatized by her generational family issues and societal constraints she starts to hallucinate about having blue eyes.   In many ways, the story is heartbreaking.  Still, it remains one of my favorite books of all time.  

This documentary about the author’s life was directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.  Greenfield-Sanders is a photographer turned film maker who has know Toni Morrison for decades.

He was there to introduce the film and take questions from the audience.  He discussed the challenge of convincing the fiercely private author to do the documentary on her life.  

Toni Morrison also wrote the book ‘Beloved’, which was later turned into a film by her and Oprah Winfrey.  The content is heavy, deep and complicated.  It’s a story of a woman forced into slavery who escapes and once found, rather than return with her children into slavery she murders them and tries to kill herself.  The film is as disturbing as the book.  This is not easy breezy reading.  Toni’s books need to be studied or you will be lost.

She has many others, ‘Song of Soloman’, ‘Sula’, and ‘Jazz’  none of which I have personally read but intend to at some point.

She is regarded as one the greatest American authors of all time for good reason.  The documentary details how other authors stood up for her during the highlight of her career and demanded she be recognized for her talents and successes.  Eventually, she would be recognized with the
 Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for Beloved.

Somehow, she was still able to allow the social-political influences of her work to be a major theme throughout the film.  She shares some personal information, discussing her parents, relationships and children.  But, the film is mostly about the development of her career, which I am sure was by design.  

The film premiered at the Sundance festival and according to the director it will hit the big screen this summer.  If you get a chance to check it out, it is well worth the time.  You will be enlighten by the knowledge of what she has done with her existence here on earth.  Very well presented.  

I am convinced after viewing this film that Toni Morrison is my spirit mother.  I will very impressed to learn of her work as an editor which coincided with her debut as a writer.  She is an incredibly interesting woman.  

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