Thursday, May 25, 6:30 p.m.
Figge Art Museum, 225 West Second Street, Davenport IA
Presented as the latest in a series of groundbreaking feature-length films that celebrate the remarkable achievements women have made in the cinematic arts, director Ava DuVernay's Academy Award-winning Selma enjoys a May 25 screening at Davenport's Figge Art Museum, this 2014 historical drama a work that the New York Times deemed "a triumph of efficient, emphatic cinematic storytelling."
A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s epic 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in order to secure equal voting rights for all, DuVernay's Selma stars David Oyelowo as King, Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson, Tim Roth as George Wallace, Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, and Common as James Bevel, who initiated and directed the voting-rights marches. In July of 2013, DuVernay signed on to direct the film for Pathé U.K. and Plan B, and said that she was revising the script with the original screenwriter, Paul Webb. DuVernay estimated that she re-wrote 90 percent of Webb's original script including the rewriting of several of King's speeches, as King's estate licensed them to DreamWorks and Warner Bros. in 2009 for an untitled project to be produced by Steven Spielberg. Ultimately, however, DuVernay did not receive a screenwriting credit on the finished film, due to a stipulation in Webb's original contract entitling him to sole credit. Selma consequently premiered at the American Film Institute Festival on November 11, 2014, began a limited U.S. release on Christmas Day, and expanded into wide theatrical release the following January, two months before the 50th anniversary of the march.
With particular praise given to DuVernay's direction and Oyelowo's performance, Selma was met with critical acclaim, though also some criticism for historical inaccuracies, which largely centered on the perceived vilification of Johnson and the omission of several prominent Jewish civil rights leaders. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently holds an approval rating of 99 percent, with the site's critical consensus reading: "Fueled by a gripping performance from David Oyelowo, Selma draws inspiration and dramatic power from the life and death of Martin Luther King Jr. – but doesn't ignore how far we remain from the ideals his work embodied." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a rare grade of "A+," with Rolling Stone's Peter Travers adding, "DuVernay's look at Martin Luther King's 1965 voting-rights march against racial injustice stings with relevance to the here and now." Selma went on to receive a Best Picture nomination at the 2015 Academy Awards, and its song "Glory," composed by John Legend and Common, won the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Selma will be presented in the John Deere Auditorium on May 25, the 6:30 p.m. screening is free, and more information on the event is available by calling (563)326-7804 and visiting FiggeArtMuseum.org.