NYC street photographer and filmmaker Khalik Allah (‘Field Niggas’) stretches the definition of documentary in entrancing ways with this ghostly portrait of life, death, sex and religion in modern Jamaica. Prostitutes; religious men; a pregnant woman; a dying old man; schoolchildren: they all appear in front of Allah’s inquiring camera, giving the sense of a stills-photography project that mysteriously has had real, complicated life breathed into it.
‘Black Mother’ feels simultaneously like a fully-formed artistic vision and a scratchy work-in-progress: the interviews and other sounds never fully match the images we see – images which switch from colour to black-and-white; blemished 16mm film to more pristine digital. It all feels like the revolutionaries have taken charge at National Geographic. Well worth exploring.