Date: Thu, 4 Sep 1997 10:21:03 -0400
From: "Barry A. Popik" Bapopik[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM
Subject: FAMILY NAME (film review); Media-cracy
FAMILY NAME (film review)
A new documentary called FAMILY NAME opened at the Film Forum in New York
for a limited run. A review is perhaps more appropriate for the American
Name Society, but American Dialect Society members will find the film
interesting as well.
It got four stars in Wednesday's New York Post, and Godfrey Cheshire of
New York Press called it "The best American film of the year to date."
Better than SPAWN??
Macky Alston is the filmmaker, and the film is about how he traces his
roots. Unlike ROOTS, this is a low-budget documentary, but it also covers
Macky remembered that the black students in his grade school shared his
last name of Alston. The film starts with a white Alston family reunion and
a black Alston family reunion, both taking place in North Carolina. Alstons
were slave owners, and the slaves would also use the same Alston name. The
slave owners had children with the slaves, so Macky filmed this whole Alston
If you miss it, it'll probably be on PBS soon.
Macky tried to provoke some of the Alstons with his questions about
slavery and race.
"There's a bearcat down the river," answered one Alston.
Macky asked what this meant. It means that there's trouble ahead.
Hendrickson's MOUNTAIN RANGE has something similar in "there's a squirrel in
the tree somewhere" (something's hidden) and "there's somethin' dead up the
branch" (something's strange; a branch is a stream of water).
"There's a bearcat down the line, down the river," the person repeated
later in the film.
Anyone familiar with this?