Two Must-See Films in November

Although I always look forward to the new films that the next month brings to us, I am especially excited about the two coming in November–JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM and RUSTIN.

When I saw the first email announcing Journey, my reaction was, “Why another film of this familiar story? We already have The Nativity Story, a very well-made cinematic retelling of the birth sacred to millions!” And then a second email arrived informing me that this version is a music,al and it features Antonio Banderas playing King Herod. Hmmm, very interesting!

You can see a half dozen short videos about the film and major characters by clicking onto the name of the production company, Affirm Films. There are snatches of the songs and dances, but not enough to assess how good they are. Nonetheless, this sounds like a film that will get us in the Christmas mood. It is scheduled to be released in theaters on November 10.

The second anticipated film is about a Civil Rights activist known mainly to those who are students of the C-R Movement, Bayard Rustin. His life, so full of activities seeking freedom and justice for African Americans, deserves to be better known and celebrated!

This film will deal not only with racism and segregation but also the plight of the homosexual. Bayard was a superb organizer who worked with A. Philip Randolph, head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and pacifist A.J. Muste of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Rustin’s Blackness was less of a hindrance than his being gay and a member of the Young Communist League. When he offered his services to Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Dr. King laid aside his own qualms about homosexuality and accepted Rustin’s behind the scenes help, which included organizing the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  It was Rustin who persuaded King to accept nonviolence. Sadly, under threat of blackmail, the two parted ways in 1960.

When the miniseries King was produced in 1978 homosexuality was apparently so controversial that Rustin was left out of the story, despite his crucial relationship with Dr. King.  But by 2001 when Boycott , the story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, was produced, Rustin is included, well played by Erik Dellums. I will be very interested in how much of his life is included and how well Colman Domingo portrays him. The film will hit a few theaters on November 3 and appear on Netflix the 17th.

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