Night Catches Us

Tanya Hamilton, USA 2010, 90’

After years of mysterious absence, Marcus returns to Philadelphia. It is 1976, a year of social upheaval, continued civil rights strife and the presidency of Jimmy Carter. The only people not surprised by Marcus’ return are his old friend Patricia and her 10-year-old daughter, Iris. Activists of the Black Movement, to which Marcus used to belong, suspect him of a conspiracy against their members. Things get complicated as we learn Marcus has information that may be explosive for the black community.

Night Catches Us is a stylishly filmed story that brings together various styles and genres, such as elements of noir, brief animated fragments, and exquisitely edited archive materials. Director Tanya Hamilton captures the percolating changes of the 1970s and accompanying social fervor. The film maintains focus, however, on the individual conflict playing out between characters, especially between Marcus and Patricia, with bold acting that is a perfect vehicle for the ideological dilemmas and questions that always accompany social emancipation.

Samuel Nowak

Tanya Hamilton

Jamaican-born American director and screenwriter. Laureate of numerous scholarships and awards, including the prestigious Pew Fellowship in the Arts Grant for development of the Night Catches Us, as well as scholarships from the Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and Pennsylvania Council. Her film The Killers (1995) received the top prize in the short film competition at the Berlin Film Festival in 1996. In 1997, Hamilton won the Director’s Guild of America Award for best director. Night Catches Us is her feature-length debut.


1995 The Killers (kr. m. / short)

2010 Zapada noc / Night Catches Us

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Cast & Crew

director Tanya Hamilton
screenplay Tanya Hamilton
cinematography David Tumblety
editing Affonso Gonçalves, John Chimples
music The Roots
cast Anthony Mackie, Kerry Washington, Jamie Hector, Wendell Pierce, Jamara Griffin, Novella Nelson, Tariq Trotter, Thomas Roy, Ron Simons
producer Ron Simons, Sean Costello, Jason Orans
production SimonSays Entertainment, Gigantic Pictures
sales Film Sales Company
language English
coloration colour
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