Amman AbbasiUSA75 minutes2017English
A rural Arkansas town is not a setting where most would expect to find in a story about Black male adolescence. However, Amman Abbasi's feature debut, Dayveon, simultaneously uses the lush natural beauty of central Arkansas and the prevailing poverty of lethargic, small-town USA to tell a universally resonant coming-of-age story. The film revolves around the title character Dayveon, a 13-year old struggling with the gang-related death of his older brother and his own curiosity about the very lifestyle that ended his brother's life. Devin Blackmon, Dontrell Bright, and Lachion Buckingham — all non-professional actors — give incredibly nuanced performances that accurately and artfully portray the struggle many young black men face growing up in areas with few opportunities. Abassi's choice to shoot the film using a 4:3 aspect ratio and with a low depth-of-field makes the viewer feel as if they too are trapped in the confines of a small town during a sweltering summer. With its deep association to nature Dayveon stands out from its contemporaries, successfully capturing the social disillusion that many young Black men feel today.