16 of ’19: The Last Black Man in San Francisco

This is the fourth of a 19 part list of my favorite things about 2019. There are books and movies and artists and albums and places and experiences. Making the list has been a helpful way of looking back and taking stock of my year. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some important items. No doubt in 20 years I’ll look back at several things on the list and ask, “Huh?” But this is an attempt at this moment in time to remember…

This film was to movies what Randy Houser’s “Magnolia” was to Country Music: Overlooked.

The Premise: Two friends, Jimmie and Mont, spend their days in San Francisco, the city they grew up in. They have a routine that begins where they live, in a run down neighborhood near the shipyards, and ends up in the gentrified Fillmore district, admiring and lamenting the poor state of the house where Jimmie spent his childhood, and which his grandfather built.

It’s a film about place and displacement. It’s about friendship and belonging and loving a city that doesn’t love you back. At the end of the story I was certain that the screenwriter was someone with an abiding admiration for the city. My hunch was confirmed when I discovered that Jimmie Falls was played by Jimmie Falls, the writer of the story, and that the film was semi-autobiographical.

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