Naked Acts

Naked Acts

Home » Blogs » Naked Acts

Maya S. Cade recently re-discovered Bridgett M. Davis’ 1996 film “Naked Acts,” presented by Julie Dash, Kino Lorber and Milestone Films which is an independent film that takes its audience through the independent filmmaking process and the life of a generational actress. It is triumphant, shocking and sucks its viewers into an intimate plot that demands to be observed.

The movie starts with Cicely, played by Jake-Ann Jones narrating as she writes a letter to her mother who used to be a porn star. As a young girl, Cicely is constantly sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend and made to perform “naked acts” like her mother did in her days as an actress. The initial evil duality is heart-breaking, laying down the foundations for what will eventually become a brave movie.

In her late teens, Cicely’s dream is being an actress not like her mother whom she terms inferior for choosing film roles. An ex-boyfriend offers Cicely a role in an “art film” where she needs to be naked. She resists it and persuades the producer to allow her remain dressed throughout the entire shooting period of the film.. The production described as ‘ultra ultra low budget’ also marked Cicely’s first appearance on screen after losing considerable weight over ten years. Even though she has lost all this weight and now looks Hollywood-approved skinny; nevertheless, she wants control over how people see up close on large screens still exist within Her staying in or out of this project symbolizes her new found confidence within herself rather than taking off clothes from one’s body today remains a bold character choice for any African American woman actor in movies.Marketability-wise; however, “Naked Acts” was not designed as a comedy until about 35 minutes in.

The producer becomes very irritated with his amateur cast at some point during silent acting scene played against a backdrop of wild orchestra music.

The 4k restoration beautifully emphasizes the luminescent skin of the entire black cast. Cicely’s alarming red wig perfectly parallels with the blue-light scenes next to it. This is a highly suggestive, attention-grabbing effect that makes Cicely take on the kind of fiercely independent character traits she often displays in this film, thus also supported by lighting and fashion senses that are very sharp here.

Throughout the film one can feel its pursuit for safety. Towards her dad, Cicely cries out loud many times thinking back on how safe she felt while with him (in contrast to feeling unsafe around her mom’s boyfriend), as though building herself an island of safety and leading us through her own changes. The camera concentrates on Cicely’s insularity throughout with close-ups; but more open up shots shows that she feels at ease enough to do nude self-portraitures. Here, instead of voyeurism, we have a quiet observation and encouragement by the camera.

The film’s language is quiet and collected. The scenes between Cicely (played by Ron Cephas Jones) and her ex-boyfriend Joel, feel like everyday lovers’ conversations. “You’re new and improved just gotta look in the mirror,” says Joel intimately as they gaze into each other’s eyes on a couch. These flirting scenes delivered wonderfully by both actors have an ageless quality about them. While the beginning film was narrated by Cicely confusingly and hesitatingly, it’s in such scene that she finds the kind of clarity and conciseness which makes the conclusion to be tear-jerking.

“Naked Acts” if grounded experience. Young Cicely fills her shirt with tissue to impersonate breast from the onset; then her mother removes the tissue then after moments of indecision place it back into her shirt. We see how close they are, and how Cicely wants to be like her mom. After that very intimate scene between mother and daughter, this purity vanishes before our own eyes. Grief, repression, vulnerability et cetera are what this film is all about whereas hopefulness, forgiveness as well as self-acceptance will touch viewers right straight to their hearts.

Explosions of radicalism, femininity art and trauma drag audiences’ attention while Jake-Ann Jones’ performance keeps audiences interested in its enigma.

My expectations for “Daughters of the Dust” were heightened not only because it was a Julie Dash movie but I had seen some of Dash’s work in college while taking a class with her niece who also happened to write/direct some pretty amazing stuff on screen herself .That’s why when I watched “Naked Acts” Bridgett M.Davis’ directing/writing were so moving for me with its details and rawness.I also want to see it just because she was involved in remaking that movie.“Naked Acts,” however recently restored, 1996 film, feels refreshing and rejuvenating as it forges generational triumph through its thoughtful plot and perfect casting.

Also, Read On Fmovies

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *