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The Oscars are coming up and some of the movies in contention are both remarkable and obscure. My friend Carl Eric Scott and I offer you a conversation about the Dan Gilroy-Denzel Washington movie Roman J. Israel, Esq., a story about civil rights and the struggle for justice, dignity, and the human person in our times. Denzel was nominated for his remarkable role, which is itself the result of a remarkable process. Gilory, the writer-director, has said he wrote the script for Denzel and he trusted the actor to bring the character to life and fit him into the story, with great freedom to improvise and complete trust that the result would be memorable. This is the sort of movie the Oscars should reward and that audiences looking for stories made for adults should support.
One is the recent film Marshall, which came out last year to thundering silence, even in an age of biopics of black political heroes.
The other one is Separate but equal, starring Sidney Poitier and Burt Lancaster, a three-hour mini-series that came out in 1991. It was written, directed, and produced by George Stevens, Jr., son of the great director.
The amazing soundtrack includes various genres I would recommend. I’ll note that the restaurant scene we discuss more or less in the middle of the podcast is played to Bill Evans Peace Piece, perhaps the most beautiful improvisation in jazz history.
Other tracks include: