Terence Nance has a knack for presenting arresting, unconventional imagery that grabs your attention and holds it captive until he’s ready to let it go.
Most who are familiar with Nance’s work discovered this after seeing his debut feature film, “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty,” which premiered in the New Frontiers category at Sundance in 2012 and won the 2012 Gotham Award for “Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You.” It was an experimental film that told a story of maybe-sort-0f unrequited love with seemingly every tool Nance could throw at it: animation, claymation, live action and documentary-style interview footage among them, all tied together with the voice of an omniscient narrator.
The producer credits on “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty” read like a who’s who of the black creative class: Hank Willis Thomas, Dream Hampton, Jay Z, Wyatt Cenac, Joy Bryant plus lesser-known names like Jocelyn Cooper of Afropunk and artist Wangechi Mutu. Following the success of “An Oversimplification,” Nance was named a 2014 John Simon Guggenheim fellow.
Now the auteur has released “You and I and You,” a short film that serves as the music video for the Dig’s “Cold Afternoon” and “So Alone” on Nowness. It’s worth a look.
Last year, spurred by the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Nance penned an open letter published by Shadow and Act. An excerpt:
In the recent past we have been unwilling to face the consequences of fighting back. The American government, the corporations that fill its coffers, and the oligarchs that benefit from it all make sure we are clear on the consequences of collective action to strip them of power, influence, and wealth.
So what is there to do? Me and mine made a few films. We’ve been organizing, trying to hit the corporations in their pockets, where it hurts, and organize our own show of force.
This whole thing is much more complicated and nuanced than what I have expressed above and this show of force is just the first of many. A sustained effort is necessary.