Residue is a fleeting and haunting lament for what is lost to gentrification, and other tolls on black life in America. But at the same, it’s exhilarating and monumental, laced with the sensation that we’re discovering a bold and sensitive new voice.
Residue is about colonization, and through the creative choices he makes, Gerima suggests that colonization stories don’t actually have to be about the colonizers themselves. Instead, he maintains a personal touch over the picture and the narrative, about a homecoming that goes slowly awry over the course of a 90 minute duration.
Elliptical and teasingly (but beautifully) photographed, it can give the impression of an experimental work but ultimately has a direct story to tell, one whose specificity doesn't in the least diminish its broader relevance.
Gerima films Jay’s intimate confrontations with an impressionistic flair that focusses attention on characters’ listening, thinking, and remembering; flashbacks and dream sequences infuse Jay’s tightening conflicts with the pressure of history—both social and intimate.
The bleak outlook of this story won’t be to every taste. But Residue brings a painful beauty to a real-life “whitewashing” of a city that will never let you look at gentrification from a realtor’s point of view ever again.