The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Culture Corner—Movie:
Till, 2022 and Book:
A Man’s Place

Oct 24, 2022

Movie: Till, 2022. In local theaters. Directed by Chinonye Chukwu, starring Danielle Deadwyler and Jalyn Hall

The movie Till just opened across the country. It is about the murder of the 14-year-old Emmett Till in Mississippi in 1955 and its aftermath. More than anything, the film focuses on Emmett’s mother, Mamie, and how she responded and changed as a result of her loving and loved son’s murder: from a doting mother, to grieving devastation, and finally, gradually, to a warrior who helped change the world. In today’s age of mass incarceration of mostly black men, almost daily murders of people like George Floyd, and the rise of white supremacy, the film shows how a courageous stand can shake the world.

Book: A Man’s Place (French: La Place), A Woman’s Story and The Years by Annie Ernaux

Annie Ernaux, a French woman, just received the 2022 Nobel Prize for Literature for her entire body of work. The above three titles are a great introduction to her. A Man’s Place is a short work which describes her father in non-sentimental, stark terms. Through him, we see the working class in France of that time between the wars: bitterly poor, hard working, all at the mercy of deadly diseases and hardship. A Woman’s Story presents her mother, with the added complication of Alzheimer’s. The Years is a personal narrative of the period 1941 to 2006. Her beautifully simple yet bold writing shows the consequences of the class divisions, the changes over the decades, the resilient human spirit, and the price we pay for these divisions.