Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

Toni Morrison

  • Series: In Black and White
  • Rating: **
  • Audience: High School to Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $149.00
  • Date: Copyright 1992. Released 1992.
  • Descriptors: Authors. Morrison, Toni. Black authors. Women authors. American literature.
  • Production Information: Live action. Directed by Matteo Bellinelli. Narrated by Edwina Moore. Color. Also available in 3/4 inch. Stereo. 27 min.
  • Production Company: RTSI (Switzerland) California Newsreel
  • Available from: California Newsreel 149 9th St., #420 San Francisco, CA 94103 (415)621-6196
  • Cataloging: 813.54 Morrison, Toni||Afro-American women authors - Interviews||Women authors, American - Interviews
  • Print Entry #: 4:1042
  • Reviewer: Mary Beth Fecko

    Toni Morrison consists mainly of the author seated behind a desk, discussing her career and her novels. This approach is disorienting as there is no interviewer asking questions or directing the course of the interview. Instead, the video consists of Morrison talking (and it appears to no one in general) and dramatizations from her novels. Sometimes the dramatizations are juxtaposed with the shot of Morrison seated at the desk.

    The dramatizations of passages from Beloved, The Bluest Eye, and Jazz are an interesting diversion from the discussion portion of the video. Each dramatization consists of a visual image and a voice-over by a character figuring prominently in the novel or in that passage. Integrating this type of action into the video is a good way to get viewers interested in Morrison's works and also adds an extra dimension to the video. In many ways, the dramatizations are the best part of the video.

    Technically, the video is well made. Shots of Morrison are focused and clear, and the quality of sound is good. Narration by Edwina Moore is clear and easy to understand. The voice-overs by extras are audible and enthusiastic. However, as a whole, the video is poorly structured. Although what Morrison has to say is valuable and interesting, she appears to be speaking to herself. There appears to be no format for the video, and no link is apparent between what Morrison is saying and the direction the video takes.

    This video does not do justice to Morrison or her accomplishments. Identifiable Qualities: A Film on Toni Morrison (Women Make Movies, 1989 - see review in the Spring 1991 issue, entry no. 2:815) is a much better choice. A more structured approach to the video, and more substantial narration (such as an introduction of each topic Morrison will address preceding that discussion) would greatly improve the quality of this video.

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