Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Legend Of Black Tom

Directed by Deron Albright, USA, 2005, 16 minutes.
Source: The journal of short film Vol. 5 (DVD 3715)

This sketch-animated film by Director Deron Albright delivers the true and delectable tale of renown bare-knuckle boxing champion Tom Molineaux. As a freed slave, Molineaux and his trainer Bill Richmond journeyed to England and eventually challenged British boxing champion Tom Cribb to a bout on December 10, 1810. During the bout, both Toms fought hard and long - reportedly, for more than 13 rounds - and it seemed Tom Molineaux would win. But, due to favoritism from the hometown referees towards the British champion Molineaux would never acquire the title of heavy weight champion.

There are several factors which make The Legend of Black Tom interesting, pleasurable, and exciting. The first of these being the films historical content or lack, thereof. The narrative voice, performed by You B Nounou, begins: "To all who will hear, please gather around, and i will tell you of a man who from the shore of American, took flight." Reportedly, Tom Molineaux was, unfortunately, a slave, but he was, also, arguably, a potentially great African-American boxing champion which, for some, raises immediate interest. However, as the mere topic of enslavement evokes, in many people, disheartening emotion, Albright's narrative, ratherly, capsizes the depression and inhumanity of conventional slave tales by forwardly emphasizing that Tom Molineaux was a free man.

The posture of this film is, further, exemplified by Albright's ingenious exclusion of monologue or dialogue and the, ratherly, incorporation of poetry to communicate the story. The effect of this inclusion was -perhaps, and if you enjoy poetry - the most pleasurable aspect of this film because of its complimentary implication to the films velocity. This was expecially true during the film's climax which depicted the bout between Molineaux and Cribb as extended, quickened, and vicious. The graphic detail of sketched-amimation highlighted these characteristics as they are crucial to the sport of boxing. Yet, while these depictions created a visual utopia, they were, unfortunately, impractical to deliver the historical experiences of Tom Molineaux's life. This was, however, modified by the rhymns and rhythms of poetic delivery.

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