BUFS Preview: Fruitvale Station

This week, BUFS is pleased to present the award-winning drama, Fruitvale Station.

On the first day of 2009, 22-year-old Oscar Grant was shot dead by a transit cop in Oakland while handcuffed on the floor of a subway station. His death sparked outrage in the Bay area and eventually resulted in a murder charge for the officer—though he was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and served less than a year in prison.

In Fruitvale Station, first-time writer-director Ryan Coogler, who lived in the Bay area at the time of the shooting, painstakingly recreates the 24 hours or so leading up to Oscar’s death.

Oscar, who has spent time in prison on drug charges and recently lost his job, knows himself well enough to see his own flaws. But he also wants to be better. He is surrounded by a loving family—a worried mother and sister, a patient girlfriend, and an adoring four-year-old daughter—and prone to acts of kindness and selflessness. With some time and maturity, he could become just the man he wants to be.

But we know from the film’s opening moments that he will never get the chance. Michael B. Jordan (The Wire) brings Oscar Grant to life with warmth and insight. Melonie Diaz and Octavia Spencer are tough, loving, and poignant, and young Ariana Neal steals the show as Tatiana. The film won both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and is already a contender for the Oscar race, which begins in earnest next month.

Fruitvale Station screens Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Empire Theatres, Pen Centre. Visit brocku.ca/bufs for details.

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