The Door By Ava DuVernay (A review)

by Yuleisy Michel Audain

The door

As I was trying to come up to write this piece, I stood in front of a Keurig making myself some tea. My go to drink has always been English breakfast with a hint of half and half and no sugar, where the bitter yet rich power of black tea helps me get warm. While standing there, an epiphany of sorts occurred, and it dawned on me that this preparation of something as simple as making tea can allude to the development and production of film.  

Preparing the cup, getting the k-cup and adding the half and half to the hot drink, it reminded me of the steps as a filmmaker, and the steps that one must do before everything comes together and the movie is distributed to audiences.In this case, Director Ava DuVernay has completely catch this set up with some of her works.

In a collaboration with the Miu Miu brand for the MIU MIU’S Women’s tales, we will be taking about Duvernay’s short film, The Door. In this short, silent yet impactful short film, we encounter these types women in different stages of their lives seeking for aid in a time of solitude. This movie stars some renowned actors and artists such as Gabrielle Union, who plays the Lady in Red, Alfre Woodard, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Adepero Oduye and singer/songwriter Goapele.

The first shot of the film we encounter is a clean, crisp almost like painting style of a blue background. In the middle of this shot, we encounter a lady wearing all red, looking at the sky in a thoughtless mood. Her dress stands out in the most convenient ways, visually it is engaging towards the screen. I was mesmerized, not five seconds after the film has begun and already I receive a beautiful scenery. Visually, this movie grabs the attention of the watcher instantly, showing fashionable women trying to help each other out in a time where her friend needs it the most.

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All of the Lady in Red’s friends attend her door, at the sake of her trying to get her out of this bitter mood the person she loves made her suffer. Her friends, and further along her what seems to be her mother, ultimately help her realize what she has, Support. Having a system of people that truly cares about you and your well being helps a lot on the development of the self.

She felt alone in a time where being alone is not good. Being alone ultimately for anyone is not a good thing, it one of the most undesirable feelings a human can encounter. Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground by Blind Willie Johnson describes this feeling, where in the worst times loneliness can do bad things to your body. Her friends where the support she so needed, and this much needed companionship ultimately landed her to see her worth to be better than what she is expected to be. As towards the making of the tea, one of the most important elements that DuVernay used in this visually engaging yet silent film is music.

Music is a very important lens to look within. The music used  helps the transitions to be as smoothly as the visuals. The visuals and the music combine with one another to present her ideas to the film. In the first piece, the sudden, mellow and thoughtful jazzy notes allure to her struggle with loneliness, and her friend comes and checks to see if she has eaten something. The music that guides this beginning scene helps sympathize and ultimately understand the Lady in Red’s suffering.

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The second beat has to do something more upbeat, something that one would play when you are getting ready for a nights out with her friends. This is exactly what the second friend does to her, she helps her become lively again and dance away her worries. She then takes the initiative and goes out to listen to a piece that in The Lady in Red relates to,  as music reflects the words that are not said in the film.

The last piece is more of a more thoughtful sound, going back to that jazzy tones where she encounters with a woman older than her, which she talks and seeks for advice in a time where she needs it the most. The music, aligned with the visuals captures this stages where ultimately, the lady in red disappears, and becomes her own woman, and leaving her suffering in the ring she was once given by the person who broke her heart.

Her endurance and her learnings shows ultimately that a modern woman of color is. The Lady in Red represents in much the ways that as a community that we need to do in order to strive to better. It’s important to see this type of views in a screen where girls like me would benefit from.

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Another great example that shows these types of support system is another video that Duvernay shot for Apple, which starred stars like Kerry Washington, Mary J. Blige and Taraji P. Henson where they danced freely to their favorite music. What better way to express your inner freedom than through dancing? I love it every time I see it, because it reminds me to feel good about myself, and that their promotion also highlights towards women who look like me to just feel good.

As I finish the last sip of this delicious tea, which helped me warm up as I sit in a very cold room, I appreciate all of the things that helped me get this cup of tea to the best taste that it could be. In a grand scale of things, Duvernay’s usage of all of these different, yet essential to make this visual and engaging movie for us to share. The Door ultimately aims to show that there is a light in the dark tunnel and supports systems are what help you get there.

Trailer for this movie is below:

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