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  • Toni Morrison looks out over a harbor.

TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM

MUST END SOON

4:35 ONLY Closed Caption Available

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PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY TIMOTHY GREENFIELD-SANDERS

TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM: an artful and uplifting documentary on the life and works of the legendary storyteller and Nobel prize-winner. Directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders (The Black List, Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart), a friend of Toni Morrison’s for over 35 years, the film premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

From her childhood in the steel town of Lorain, Ohio to ‘70s-era book tours with Muhammad Ali, from the front lines with Angela Davis to her own riverfront writing room, Toni Morrison leads an assembly of her peers, critics and colleagues on an exploration of race, America, history and the human condition as seen through the prism of her own work. Inspired to write because no one took a “little black girl” seriously, Morrison reflects on her lifelong deconstruction of the master narrative. Woven together with a rich collection of art, history, literature and personality, the film includes discussions about her many critically acclaimed novels, including “The Bluest Eye,” “Sula” and “Song of Solomon,” her role as an editor of iconic African-American literature and her time teaching at Princeton University. In addition to Ms. Morrison, the documentary features interviews with Angela Davis, Hilton Als, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, Sonia Sanchez, Farah Griffin, and Oprah Winfrey, who turned Morrison’s novel “Beloved” into a feature film.

USA    2018    119 MINS     MAGNOLIA PICTURES

Reviews

“This generous and intelligent documentary… offers a look at Morrison than can complement an acquaintance with her work and inspire new reading. It’s less a biography than an extended essay, which is entirely a good thing… She is candid, funny and sometimes guarded… The people who talk about her include Angela Davis, Oprah Winfrey, Fran Lebowitz, Sonia Sanchez and Robert Gottlieb… She has written about private pain and collective trauma as tenderly and ruthlessly as anyone, and therefore the most startling - and most moving - thing about encountering her on screen is her buoyancy, the enjoyment she finds in being herself… [The film] offers… the profound pleasure of her company.”
– A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“An irrepressible spirit who can tell the most harrowing stories - or toss off witty lines - with a look-you-in-the-eye style that brooks no casual listening. A distinctive, generous, funny, astute, self-doubting, unstoppable and formidable figure. What a woman. What a life.”
– Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal

“INSPIRING. ELOQUENT. [It] is enlivened both by its own storytelling dexterity and by the participation of its subject, who at 88 years old remains as warm, vibrant and insightful as ever… [She] comes across as a vivacious and intellectually formidable presence deserving of the titanic praise heaped upon by her.”
– Nick Schager, Variety

“What’s most interesting about THE PIECES I AM is not just Morrison’s explanations and reflections of her work but her steadfast determination while editing, writing and raising two children on her own, to never indulge the white gaze… A comprehensive examination of Morrison, the perseverance of Black women and how we understand ourselves as a people.”
– Aramide Tinubu, Shadow and Act

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