Brown and Clear (Kevin Jerome Everson, 2017)

By Mónica Delgado

In Brown and Clear (2017), Kevin Jerome Everson returns to a minimalistic style, a register that finds a support in film grain and closeness as an ideal way to deepen in the details of the quotidian. Little by little, from actions that could be seen as laughable as simple sight, he constructs complex significates about the workplace and the social, looking to achieve in a simplicity of resources, a whole mechanism to auscultate a hidden America.

Distance and persistence may be two words to define the trademark placed in Kevin Jerome Everson’s Works. In Brown and Clear, the story, if there’s any, is simple: a camera looks at the movements of a barman that realizes a specific job. A man that fills used bottles with bourbon and vodka for resale. A practice that reveals certain informality, even from an experience of this activity that throws back to the times of the prohibition, among a huge black market that remains off-sight.

Everson makes an approach not only from the narrative, of an act of a man who slowly fills bottles and rehearses which cap belongs to each jar. Beyond that, there’s a whole work of contrast, between the empty and the full, of the transparency of space to the tonalities of whisky that transform the frame’s atmosphere. For moments an abstraction is perceived, and we imagine the figure of the barman from which we can only see his hands. It seems that, beyond the social realm that this registry could refer to, the filmmaker is proposing to mince the nature of the film dispositive that is used in documentary film-making: being close to the subject filmed, capturing sounds that refers to the action on screen or not, the perspective and location of camera.

Unlike his long features, like the recent Tonsler Park or shorts like Ears, Nose and Throat, Jerome Everson here bets for really close shots, to leave his character almost off of field, a place where his repeated acts configure this imaginary of alcohol, costumes, and maybe alcoholism and its vices.

Kevin Jerome Everson has directed over thirty films in twelve years, and he’s one of the filmmakers in the African-American community that have marked an style precisely from the registry of different edges of the racial issue in the United States, a country that still maintains its cultural and economic ghettos. His latest Brown and Clear is inserted inside this motivation.

Wavelengths 2: Fluid Frontiers

Director: Kevin Jerome Everson
Cast: William Wanky Everson
Cinematography, editing, sound: Kevin Jerome Everson
Producers: Madeleine Molyneaux y Kevin Jerome Everson
USA, 2017, 08 min