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Laramie Movie Scope:
Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project

All hail the plain spoken Nikki

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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January 13, 2024 – Nikki Giovanni, the brilliant, plain-spoken author, activist and poet is a breath of fresh air in today's society, in which most public speakers spew out a lot of bullshit. Nikki is a woman who speaks her mind, and she doesn't give a damn what anyone thinks of her. I love this woman.

I'd never heard of her before seeing this film, but now, I am going to check out her poetry. It sounds great as spoken in the film. Nikki, who is now 80 years old, is interviewed at length in this movie, but she is also shown in flashbacks in her youth, most notably in a video of her in a one on one discussion with the great intellectual, James Baldwin (I think this one is on YouTube) in which she easily holds her own.

Nikki has the ability to see the world from unusual perspectives. This leads her to make the connection between American slaves and astronauts. Like astronauts, the slaves landed in a strange new world where they did not speak the language, and where aliens are in charge of everything. Raped by aliens, the slave women nevertheless loved the resulting alien babies.

That's just one reason that Nikki lavishes praise on black women. In truth, black women voters have saved this country from disaster on more than one occasion. Let's hope they are up to it again.

In addition to the interviews and historical footage in the film, there are also videos of some current and past public lectures and readings Nikki has done, and they are all entertaining. Although a stroke and cancer surgeries have slowed her down some, her shining personality is undimmed.

Other family members, like her son, Thomas Giovanni and granddaughter Kai Giovanni, appear in the film. Nikki talks a lot about her book, “A Good Cry: What We Learn From Tears and Laughter” and she also talks about wanting to ride on the International Space Station, and be ejected into space after she dies.

Nikki comes across as someone who does not compromise when it comes to her principles. This gets her in trouble with both conservatives and liberals, but she seems to carry on as popular as ever. One of the best known black writers, she has won numerous awards, including the Langston Hughes Medal and seven NAACP Image Awards. Her work covers a broad spectrum from Black Power to children's books.

This movie, written and directed by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, uses a variety of images, videos and historical footage to fill in some of the details about this complicated woman. Near the end, we see Nikki not only talking about the end of her own life, but she also talks about the end of the world itself, saying that people have ruined it. She's probably right. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff (no extra charges apply). I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2024 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at dalek three zero one nine at gmail dot com [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]