Capri: Bronx Gothic


Capri Theater Thu, Jan 4, 2018 7:00 PM
Ticket Prices
General Public:$5.00
Film Info
Program:First Thursday Films @ The Capri
Black Cinema: Under The Skin
Release Year:2017
Runtime:91 min
Print Source:Grasshopper Film
Director:Andrew Rossi
Principal Cast:Okwui Okpokwasili


Bronx Gothic is a portrait of writer and performer Okwui Okpokwasili as she stages a final tour for her one-woman show, “Bronx Gothic.”

Providing a space for audiences to engage with the “political terrain” of her “brown body,” Okwui’s show features a multi-disciplinary display of dance, singing, drama, and comedy, all of which find their way into the film. With intimate vérité access to Okwui and her audiences off the stage, the film also probes Okwui’s creative process, providing a forum for discussion of the complex social issues and personal trauma embodied in Okwui work.

Although the play within the play of Bronx Gothic is set in the 1980s, Okwui’s piece is timely. She explains in the film that her depiction of a “vibrating brown body” is political insofar as all “black and brown bodies” have been inscribed with a history of violence in our culture. She says in the film that Americans have become “acculturated to seeing brown bodies in pain,” and she hopes that “Bronx Gothic” will allow audience members to grow their “empathic capacity” while seeing her in a radical dance that presents the brown body from a new perspective.

Okwui’s “main concern is with the stories of black girls,” and she evokes the voices of two 12-year-old girls entering puberty and contending with sexual violence at home as they pass notes to each other in a secret ritual.

We follow Okwui as she tours “Bronx Gothic” around the country and conducts talk-backs with her audience. During these sessions, she interrogates both the formal elements of her show (e.g. durational performance, fragmented storytelling) and the political ramifications of her characters? actions and environment. This leads members of her audience to share emotional stories from their own lives, during some of the talk-backs.

But Okwui herself is also undergoing a transformation as she travels from city to city mounting this solo show. Although not strictly a work of autobiography, “Bronx Gothic” nonetheless springs from memories of her childhood growing up in the Bronx, and when she finally returns to the church of her youth to conclude her tour with a final performance, she is overwhelmed. In a way, bringing “Bronx Gothic” back to the Bronx is a welcome homecoming. But staging the show on the grounds of a cemetery chapel seems to summon painful ghosts, as Okwui enters the deeply physical and mental challenge of bringing “Bronx Gothic” to life one last time.

Sponsored By:

This screening is a part of Black Cinema: Under the Skin, a program of films by Black filmmakers and exploring Black culture and experience. Topical and relevant in these turbulent times, Black Cinema aims to create a space for dialogue and better understanding. Presented with support by:





A series of films presented in partnership with the Capri Theater on the first Thursday of every month, with speakers invited to lead post-film discussions with audiences.

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