From the beginning of the film, Jerico shines as a historically significant and multi-layered period piece. Jerico, directed by Seckeita Lewis, paints a picture of the past during a time period that was both volatile and progressive. The film features the title character Jerico with his best friend Jarvis on the day of signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. With the new law in place, they have their eyes on a new job at a printing press company, but trouble ensues when their car breaks down on the way.

Jerico stillWhile at first you might think that this kind of film would be all serious, Lewis perfects the craft of a balance between comedy and drama. The film is perfect at knowing when to evoke the appropriate emotions, whether that be laughing at the sometimes-bumbling Jerico or grave fear when they meet their antagonists.

The film may have shown an era more than 50 years ago, but the themes of courage, bravery, and equality shine through. In a time when these subjects are as relevant as ever, Jerico is the perfect example to represent this.

Between the main characters Jerico and Jarvis, the director shows life as an African American man in the 1960s in an Odyssey-like journey through the story. Even in times of stress or drama, this duo stuck by each other. Anyone can relate to this sense of brotherhood. These qualities of valor, perseverance and loyalty represent major qualities that I think any American aspires to have, past and present!

I think it’s incredible to see a very pertinent film that touches on such a tense time in our nation in such a refreshing way. Understanding our history is vital to understanding how we interact in America today. Films like Jerico make it easier to talk about these often tense subjects of the past and the present. By satirizing this historical time in America, people can really connect with it and feel more comfortable communicating about it.

This film unfolds an adventurous story with its fair share of twists and turns. Whether he’s running from farmers in the forest, in disguise in a restaurant, or grooving in a dive-bar, Jerico breathes life into the film with laughs, anxiety and the significant moments of America’s past, good or bad.

See the trailer here:

Jerico contains mature language and adult situations and may not be suitable for a younger audience.

Jerico runs 97 minutes and will be shown Saturday, January 28 at 4:45 p.m. during Film Block 9 with the short Rise Up as part of Denton Black Film Festival. To purchase tickets at the online box office, click here.