Candyman was supposed to come out this month, but has been, like every other movie, rescheduled to later in the year (supposedly September 25, but we’ll see). In lieu of seeing the actual movie, director Nia DaCosta dropped a two-minute short “prequel” on Twitter, telling the story of the Candyman with extremely cool, extremely creepy shadow puppets. The short was made in collaboration with Manual Cinema, an art collective and production company in Chicago whose work is also featured in the film, and can be glimpsed in the trailer. Candyman composer Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (aka the artist-musician Lichens) also provided music for the short. Check it out:
CANDYMAN, at the intersection of white violence and black pain, is about unwilling martyrs. The people they were, the symbols we turn them into, the monsters we are told they must have been. pic.twitter.com/MEwwr8umdI— Nia DaCosta (@NiaDaCosta) June 17, 2020
This is a GREAT piece of storytelling, situating the Candyman origin story within a real history of racial violence against the Black community in America. It’s beautifully done, haunting and creepy and tragic, so of course it’s too much for some (white) people:
Sounds like woke garbage, hope Iâ€™m wrong.— Movie Mad Motto (@Rob_Motto) June 17, 2020
The replies are a goddamn mess with this guy trying to justify that the 1992 Candyman was somehow less about race when it is a story about a Black victim of a white lynch mob who is immortalized in folklore, his supernatural killings connecting the racial violence of the 19th century with 20th century fears about inner cities and “urban” crime. The Candyman literally turns a white woman into a victim of the same kind of fear and paranoia that got him killed 100 years before, but sure, it wasn’t about social justice or race at all, my dude. This is in the same vein of white people who complain that Star Wars wasn’t political back in the day. Oh, you mean the movies about the freedom fighters who unite to take down an authoritarian regime that commits genocide? Sure, no politics there.
Films were political thirty years ago, but the conversation around films like Candyman was limited by magazine and newspaper subscriptions, and who got to write those articles. The internet, however, changed all that. The internet gives a platform to voices frequently excluded from the conversation, and it creates a space where reply guys can be confronted by the communities they dismiss when they write off films as “woke garbage”. The politics were always present, it was just white privilege that allowed so many self-professed cinephiles to say, “Cool flick, bro,” and go on their way without any further consideration or thought. Why are movies so political these days? They were always political, Chet, you just weren’t paying attention.