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5 films about hair that you need to watch ASAP

September 11, 2019

 

‘Hair That Moves’ (2014)

Director: Yolanda Keabetswe Mogatusi

 “Tired of being late to school all the time, Buhle enters a singing competition to win a car. But to win, she needs one key element: hair that moves!”

 

This proudly South African, 2014 short film is 19 minutes of pure charm. Lead, Millicent Makhado Mothiba, is dynamite as Buhle - a determined, albeit misguided, little girl whose story we can all relate to. Being a black child who’s affected by images in the media and society’s subliminal messages that long and swaying hair is the standard of beauty, she sees her short kinky hair as unworthy of first prize. Watch this film with any little girl in your life, and you both might see a part of yourselves in Buhle’s journey to the stage. I know I did.

 

‘Pelo Malo’ (2013)

Director: Mariana Rondon

“A Venezuelan boy's desire to straighten his curly hair leads to friction between himself and his desperate single mother. ”

 

This coming-of-age drama deals with issues of race, sexuality and gender expression. Pelo Malo translates to “Bad Hair”, and that is exactly what curly-haired Junior believes he has. Although this film has a similar jumping-off point to ‘Hair That moves’, our young leads’ journeys are very different. This look at Latin American identity politics is a fresh take on a familiar story. Hair straightening is typically seen a women’s obsession, and this is the main concern for Junior’s mom. She feels that Junior’s desire for straight hair must mean  that he’s gay (which is of course a big no-no in her culture). Watch this film for a close look at a nerve-hitting Venezuelan story that could easily take place on the streets of any African city.

 

My Nappy Roots: A Journey Through Black Hairitage (2010)

Director: Regina Kimbell, Jay Bluemke

"My Nappy Roots" explores the politics, culture and history of African American hair… The film will use the evolution of black hairstyles as a touchstone to address the broader struggle of African American people in their search for social control, identity and economic independence.”

 

This documentary is an honest and interesting look at the complex relationships that black people have come to have with their hair. Featuring familiar faces like Vivica A.Fox and Lalah Hathaway, we’re taken on an exploration of the conversations surrounding black hair styling, hair care and cultural trends. This documentary is surprisingly emotional, as subjects share pivotal moments that changed the way they engage with their hair.

 

This Hair of Mine (2017)

Creative direction & hair styling: Cyndia Harvey

 

“This Hair of Mine celebrates the history of the African diaspora, using black hair as the central narrative.”

 

This Hair of Mine is a beautiful visual celebration of the versatility of African hairstyles. It’s inspired by Zulaikha Patel and other South African girls being sent home from school because of their natural hair. This 6 minute fine-art film features a permanent split-screen as themes of personal expression, strength and pride are explored.

 

Nappily Ever After (2018)

Dir: Haifaa al-Mansour

 

 

“A soulful barber helps a woman piece her life back together after an accident at her hair salon makes her realize she is not living life to the fullest.”

 

Violet (Sanaa Lathan) has done everything she and her mom thought she needed to do to make her boyfriend propose - everything including keeping her hair perfectly straight. When she realises that the proposal may never come, she sets off on a journey of discovering who she really needs to be, to fall in love with herself. This romantic comedy has all the elements that made us fall in love with the genre in the first place - complete with a messy but cute chance meeting, followed by a will-they-won’t-they relationship we can’t get enough of. Watch this film for laughs, tears and that famously cathartic hair-chopping scene.

 

 

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