The Delta | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

The Delta

Ira Sachs wrote and directed this stylistically captivating, subtly nuanced, and structurally unpredictable 1996 independent feature. Like Spike Lee's forthcoming He Got Game, the film focuses on an oedipal scenario that partially hinges on skin color. The central figure is Minh (Thang Chan), the immigrant son of a poor Vietnamese woman and a black American soldier, although his centrality isn't apparent at first. Most of the first part of the film concerns a well-to-do, sexually confused teenager (Shayne Gray) who picks up Minh for sex, then goes off on a date with his steady girlfriend (whom he mainly ignores) before gravitating back to Minh much later. Because the wholly believable dialogue is more overheard than heard, and because Sachs is interested in showing us a whole Memphis milieu, Minh's hatred for his father--a mirror image of the racism he encounters in the world around him--doesn't seem as important at first as we eventually discover it is. If you think contemporary social reality rarely winds up in movies, this feature offers a bracing if mainly low-key exception to the rule. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, April 24 through 30.

--Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Jonathan Rosenbaum

Agenda Teaser

Music
J@K@L Experimental Sound Studio
July 16
Performing Arts
Manic Mondays Frances Cocktail Lounge
November 20

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories