This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

10Dec/12

DOCUMENTARY IN BLOOM: THE LOVING STORY

The illegal interracial marriage of Mildred and Richard Jeter and their fight for justice is at center of powerful documentary

NEW FILMS PRESENTED BY LIVIA BLOOM: THE LOVING STORY (Nancy Buirski, 2011)
Maysles Cinema
343 Malcolm X Blvd. between 127th & 128th Sts.
December 10-16, $10, 7:30
212-582-6050
www.mayslesinstitute.org
www.lovingfilm.com

On June 2, 1958, Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter got married in Washington, DC. Shortly after returning to their Virginia home, Loving, a white man, and Jeter, a black and Native American woman, were arrested and imprisoned by the local sheriff, facing prison sentences because interracial marriage was illegal in their home state. Banished from Virginia, they spent nine years fighting in the courts, and their remarkable tale is now being told in the Oscar shortlisted documentary The Loving Story. First-time director Nancy Buirski, who founded the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, and editor Elisabeth Haviland James weave together never-before-seen archival footage shot by photojournalist Grey Villet, old news reports and interviews, and family home movies with new interviews with the Loving children and lawyers Bernard S. Cohen and Philip J. Hirschkop, who were ready to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. One of the many fascinating aspects of the film is that Richard and Mildred had no desire to be trailblazers fighting miscegenation laws; they were just a man and a woman who had fallen in love at first sight and wanted to live happily ever after, in a community that fully accepted their situation. They of course have the perfect last name, because The Loving Story is a story of love and romance as much as it is about an outdated legal system, bigotry, and white supremacy. And it is more relevant than ever, with the issue of same-sex marriage dividing much of the nation. Told in a procedural, chronological format, The Loving Story is also absolutely infuriating, since this all happened not very long ago at all, with many of the protagonists and antagonists still alive — and race still being such a central issue in America. An HBO production, The Loving Story is having its theatrical premiere December 10-16 as part of the Maysles Cinema series “Documentary in Bloom: New Films Presented by Livia Bloom”; Buirski will join Bloom for a Q&A following the December 14 screening.

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