ORIGIN Opens the Doors of the Mind

Summary in the blink of an idea from the official ORIGIN site: “Written and directed by Academy Award nominee Ava DuVernay, ORIGIN chronicles the tragedy and triumph of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson as she investigates a global phenomenon of epic proportions. Portrayed by Academy Award nominee Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor (“King Richard”), Isabel experiences unfathomable personal loss and love as she crosses continents and cultures to craft one of the defining American books of our time. Inspired by the New York Times best-seller “Caste,” ORIGIN explores the mystery of history, the wonders of romance, and a fight for the future of us all.”

Yes, it is all that and individually more.  The word Racism is used with capital letters more now than ever. It has always been at the top of the list describing injustice, and bigotry to others.  After watching this film, in my opinion, the caste system is the mother of racism.

The film begins leading up to Trayvon Martin’s killing. Isabel is married to a white man, her mother is in no position to live by herself anymore, and her sister/cousin Marion (Niecy Nash-Betts) is her true support system.  Anyone who is close to family and/or has been a caretaker can see, not feel Isabel’s family dynamic. When asked to give her written opinion on the Trayvon Martin murder, she resists but after the death of her husband and soon after her mom, she decides to begin research on the case.  She quickly finds that the problem is more worldwide than just racism, it’s a caste system that is found all over the world.

She begins doing research, traveling to Germany, India, throughout the United States, and speaking with scholars and everyday people to gain more understanding.

What impressed me about the film is I walked away having learned something I was not aware of.  So many stories that opened my eyes.

One of those was the fact that in Nazi Germany the blueprint used to exterminate the Jews from the face of the earth was patterned after the United States Jim Crow laws. The Jews were white but the Nazis cast them as beneath them which led to bigotry which bred into racism. Another is the story of Al Bright, a Black boy who was on a winning majority white Little League team. If they won the game (Al was the reason they won) the team was invited to a swimming pool party, but he was not allowed to enter the water. If he touched the water, even with his pinky finger, they would have to drain and sanitize the pool. The parents and coaches verbally spoke against it but why didn’t they pack up their kids and leave the pool?  It was hot and the kids wanted to have fun, Al had to sit on a blanket outside of the pool fence.  The way Ava shot that scene was perfect.

The Africans were smart working people but enslaved and cast beneath even the lowest of white people, which led to bigotry and racism.

In India, everyone is the same race but the lowest in the Caste system is made to clean the sewers with their hands. They are not allowed to touch people outside their level of existence.

I think Ava DuVernay did a fantastic job joining the personal life and challenges Isabel is going through with the research and realizations of how the caste system played out in her life.

Ava also gave us a view into Trayvon’s murder that chilled me. 

The acting was spot on, the locations beautiful, the music spot on, and the journey worthwhile. It is an emotional rollercoaster but a ride I was glad I took.

I give ORGIN 4 out of 5 winks of the EYE!

Until next time keep your EYE to the sky!