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One Step Ahead: Chinonye Chukwu Interviews A.V. Rockwell on A Thousand and One

A mother wearing a flannel shirt with a slicked-back ponytail cradles her song in her arms, who is wearing a white tank top and gold chain necklace.Teyana Taylor and Aaron Kingsley Adetola in A Thousand and One.

The ever-changing landscape of New York City is the captivating, challenging backdrop of A Thousand and One, writer-director A.V. Rockwell’s feature debut. Chronicling a mother and son’s loving yet fraught relationship from 1993 through 2005, the film incorporates speeches and news reports detailing specific policies of mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg across two decades, a device that serves as a concrete reminder of time passing and stakes rising for the film’s protagonists. Strict jaywalking laws, the advent of stop-and-frisk and increased gentrification initiatives become tangible perils that the Harlem-based characters must navigate, lest they lose the freedom they’ve worked […]

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