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Film / Hale County This Morning This Evening

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Hale County This Morning This Evening is a 2018 documentary feature film directed by RaMell Ross.

It is a portrait of African-American life in Hale County, Alabama. Ross photographed the film periodically over the course of five years after moving to Hale County to teach basketball. The film focuses on two young black men. Quincy works at the catfish factory and is married to a woman named Boosie, and they have a son named Kyrie. Daniel is a basketball player who's trying to make the team at Selma University and has hopes of playing in the NBA.

While the film does show Quincy and Daniel's home lives and takes time for them and their family members to talk to the camera, it does not have a story line. What it really is, is an impressionistic portrait of the lives of rural black Alabamians, using experimental shots and abstract, sometimes hallucinatory imagery to show people in their everyday lives.



  • Blade-of-Grass Cut: A close-up shot of a bee crawling around on the bed of a truck.
  • Death of a Child: A shot of newborn twins Korbyn and Karmyn sleeping in their baby seats is followed by a gut punch of a chyron stating that Korbyn died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first shot of Daniel shows him outside a high school dancing goofily while his friends make fun of him good-naturedly.
  • The Faceless: Cops. Specifically, white cops. Two different scenes have local black men getting pulled over. In the first the cop is far away at his squad car and we don't get a good look at him. In the second the shot is framed so we can only see the cop from the shoulders down.
  • Jitter Cam: In a scene where the camera follows Daniel as he moves around the basketball court practicing three-point shots.
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  • Kuleshov Effect: The camera detours off the road onto a dirt path that leads to a stately old mansion, which no doubt once belonged to white slave-owning planters. There's a cut to some old silent film footage of a black comedian peering out from a field of tall grass. There's a shot of smoke obscuring the sun, from a tire fire in Real Life but obviously suggesting the plantation manor house burning. Then there's a shot of the silent film comedian smiling.
  • Leave the Camera Running: A three-minute scene has a stationary camera showing a basketball team, apparently right before a game, laughing and joking in a locker room.
  • Lens Flare: One scene has a man sitting outside at night in a field, playing blues guitar very well. The man and the grassy field are lit by a single bright light on the other side of the field that casts a lens flare in the camera. It makes the scene look quite spooky.
  • Match Cut: One shot has the camera pointing straight down, showing drops of sweat hitting the floor as someone goes through a basketball drill—we don't see the player or the ball, only the drops of sweat pattering the gym floor. The film then cuts to a shot of drops of rain pattering the concrete sidewalk.
  • Monochrome Casting: Hale County is 40% white but the film is focused on the black community. The only white people we see are a teen girl and a middle-aged woman among the congregants taking communion at a church.
  • The Oner: Many. Early in the film there's a long shot in which the camera travels slowly down the main street—given the speed the camera is going and the people lined up on the sides, it's obviously a parade, but the POV shot never shows what the parade is for. Another scene is a two-minute shot in which the camera zips down a country road showing the cotton fields in bloom. Another scene is a three-minute shot in which the camera follows Kyrie the toddler as he runs back and forth across the living room, burning off energy.
  • Slice of Life: No central narrative or story, just a portrait of people living hteir lives. Ross describes the film in an introductory chyron as "Photographing in my day-to-day".
  • Solar and Lunar: There are many shots of the sun and moon rising, setting, coursing across the sky. One sequence is a surreal depiction of the moon sort of bouncing and shaking around the picture frame, followed by a shot of the sun doing the same thing.
  • Stylistic Suck: In one scene the camera is deliberately left unfocused while it's pointed at a TV commercial. The unfocused images dancing around the TV look like ghosts.
  • Time Lapse: Many. One shot is a time lapse of cows lounging in a pasture as cars zip by at high speed. There is more than one time lapse shot of the sun or moon passing across the sky, or the stars passing. One shot is pointed straight up through a basketball hoop to show stars coursing overhead.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: People are shown outside watching the solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, and the camera then shows a shot of the sun in eclipse. The folks outside watching wonder why the news said they wouldn't be able to see it. (What they weren't able to see was the total solar eclipse; the path of totality went through Tennessee north of Alabama.)
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: A chyron mentions Boosie's pregnancy by saying "Carrying twins now, Boosie careth not about the film."