A film by Andrew Rossi
2017, 91 minutes
No. 095


From director Andrew Rossi (Page One: Inside the New York Times, The First Monday in May and Ivory Tower) comes an electrifying portrait of writer and performer Okwui Okpokwasili and her acclaimed one-woman show "Bronx Gothic."

Rooted in memories of her childhood, Okwui – who’s worked with conceptual artists like Ralph Lemon and Julie Taymor – fuses dance, song, drama and comedy to create a mesmerizing space in which audiences can engage with a story about two 12-year-old black girls coming of age in the 1980s.

With intimate vérité access to Okwui and her audiences off the stage, Bronx Gothic allows for unparalleled insight into her creative process as well as the complex social issues embodied in it.

“Indispensable. A stirring ode to the liberating catharsis of artistic expression.” – Matt Fagerholm,

“In 2014, I saw Okpokwasili in her piece 'Bronx Gothic,' and the top of my head blew off…. The piece is a tour de force on the order of Toni Morrison’s 'The Bluest Eye,' the author’s seminal text on black girlhood and power.” – Hilton Als, The New Yorker

“Mr. Rossi honors the fullness of her live performances, showing long stretches intact, while illuminating the relationships, in particular between daughters and mothers, that orbit her process.” – Siobhan Burke, The New York Times

“A thrilling documentary.” – Lakin Starling, Fader

"In language that is by turns blunt and poetic, crudely funny and incantatory, Ms. Okpokwasili conjures and probes… adolescent friendship, a jumble of insults, anger and love. And Ms. Okpokwasili is a magnetic performer. In a voice that can be confiding or terrifying and movement that can be ugly or sinuous, she holds the show together, lending her story unexpected emotional and physical contours.” – Rachel Saltz, The New York Times

“Okpokwasili’s powerful performance is interspersed with excerpts from intense audience discussions and interviews that examine the personal and political context of her formidable work. Fittingly, director Andrew Rossi opts for an incisive structure that analyzes her work while exposing it to a broader audience.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice

“A mesmerizing and sometimes harrowing solo piece… Okpokwasili in motion is a sight to behold." - Tim Murphy, The New York Times