Alma’s Rainbow

Scene from the film Alma’s Rainbow
image from the film ALMA'S RAINBOW
image from the film ALMA'S RAINBOW

Writing about this new 4K restoration of this joyous coming-of-age dramedy, presenter Julie Dash states “Alma’s Rainbow was one of the first full length dramatic narrative films produced and directed by an African American woman in the 20th century. Chenzira’s much celebrated and award winning early work is essential viewing today as much as it was when first released in 1994.”

In Seattle’s alternative The Stranger, Jasmyne Kemig writes:“My mind immediately goes to Leslie Harris’s Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. when I watch Ayoka Chenzira's film Alma’s Rainbow. Both films were directed by Black women during a time without many Black female directors. Both chart girls as they navigate their way to womanhood in New York City. Both feature incredible costumes. And both films still have not received their due, decades after the fact.…Alma’s Rainbow is lighter, concentrated on puberty's beginning stages. The film follows Rainbow (Victoria Gabrielle Platt) as she rebels against her mother Alma (Kim Weston-Moran), which starts after her sexy Aunt Ruby (Mizan Kirby), a performer, unexpectedly camps out with the family for a while. …

“The film gives as much attention to the relationship between Alma and Ruby as it does to Rainbow. The result is a film that unspools the complex relationships between two generations of women—it's f[*]ng refreshing. Watching Alma’s Rainbow today makes me wish I had access to it as a teen when I was craving stories featuring fully-fleshed out awkward Black girls.”

Ana DuVernay writes that “The matter of matriarchy within families is close to my heart. I think of my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, and my aunts who all had a firm, beautiful hand in raising me. I long for more representations of these generational villages on screen, like those we experience in Ayoka Chenzira’s work.… Alma’s Rainbow is a gorgeous clarion call for our young black girls, heralding the community, creativity and confidence that is the pride of our culture.”

Restoration by the Academy Film Archive, Film Foundation, and Milestone Films. Restoration supervised by Mark Toscano. Funding provided by The Film Foundation and Hobson Lucas Family Foundation. Lab: Roundabout Entertainment and Audio Mechanics. With thanks to Vincent Pirozzi.

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