WHEELING - The Sundance hit "Pariah" brings a fresh, urban take to the coming out/coming of age genre as it explores a 17-year-old African American girl's heartfelt journey to reveal her sexual orientation to her parents. It will be shown this weekend only April 13, 14 and 15- at Oglebay Institute's Towngate Cinema.
Alike (pronounced a-LIE-kah) is a high achieving senior from Brooklyn's middle class Fort Greene neighborhood. She is cautiously embracing a lesbian identity. She has never been kissed, but dreams of being kissed by a girl. She has accepted her sexual orientation for years but hasn't come out to her parents. Yet, everyone sort of knows. Her ultra-traditional mother doesn't understand why her daughter doesn't want to dress more feminine or go to the prom, and her police officer father has heard rumors about his daughter but angrily rejects them. "Pariah" tellingly and touchingly depicts the painful awkwardness and identity conflicts associated with coming out. Is sexual orientation something to be looked down on or to be proud of? What if I can't come home again? How do I choose between my family and my identity? Why do I have to choose?
Winner of the cinematography award at the Sundance Film Festival and nominated for the grand jury prize, "Pariah" is certainly not the first coming out story, but it is one of few films to convey the story by way of an urban African American neighborhood.
Spike Lee is the executive producer of "Pariah," which is the impressive debut feature of writer/director Dee Rees. Drawing from her own life, Rees introduces a new voice in this vibrantly alive feature film. A fantastic lead performance by newcomer Adepero Oduye also sets this film apart from others in this genre. Her natural, touching and convincing portrayal of Alike has critics raving, "A star is born."
Rated R for sexual content and language, "Pariah" will be shown at 7 and 9 p.m. Friday, April 13; 4, 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, April 14 and 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday, April 15.
Located at 2118 Market Street, Towngate Cinema is easy to find and located just across the street from St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in the historic Centre Market District of Wheeling.
Oglebay Institute's Cinema program is underwritten by the Ogden Newspapers and all Towngate films are shown for one weekend only. Tickets are available at the door. The box office opens one hour before all shows and can be reached at 304-.233-4257.