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:
A Thousand and One & All This Could Be Different

Apr 3, 2023

Movie: A Thousand and One, 2023, now showing in theaters

This film won the Grand Jury award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Writer-director A.V. Rockwell has debuted an incredibly powerful and moving film of a young woman just out of Riker’s prison who against all odds is determined to make a good life for herself.

Inez (played by Teyana Taylor), who grew up herself in the foster care system, decides to rescue her son from his unhappy life in foster care, and she escapes with him to apartment 10—01 to hide out and live in Harlem.

The film captures life as her son grows up in 1990/2000’s New York City: Rudy Giuliani, housing projects, stop and frisk!, the schools, the vibrant neighborhoods, the beauty and the desolation, the opportunities and the deprivation, and finally the gentrification that pushes them out. Through it all she fights with a beautifully depicted toughness to give her son the life she never had.

Book: All this Could Be Different, by Sarah Thankam Mathews, 2022

This novel depicts the life of a young immigrant woman from India working as a contract worker in Milwaukee in corporate America, right after the 2008 financial crisis. You see the individualism that the company pushes to set coworker against coworker, the isolation, the broken dreams, all through the eyes of one woman and her friends. The characters on the page seem to come alive. Through haunting images, such as a needlessly dark long walk home in the snow, the author again and again weaves the personal in with the large abstractions of life: is this the best we can do?