Brandy, a high school senior, comes to terms with her sexuality when she decides what she’ll wear to the prom.
A selection of Short of the Week, the web’s leading curators of quality short films.
Directed by Thembi L Banks
“true American tradition, prom is perhaps one of the most anticipated nights in a young person’s high school experience. Considered a rite of passage, prom is a teenager’s last hurrah to their grade school days and a chance for teens to show their true colors. Perhaps I am a little bit romantic about it – I did grow up watching John Hughes films – but prom is the quintessential coming-of-age setting for any end to a great young adult story. A true fan of the drama, Thembi Banks’ Suitable was an easy film to fall in love with.
Inspired by writer Rochee Jeffrey’s childhood admiration of Grace Jones, Suitable orbits around Brandy (grippingly performed by Kelli Jordan), a high school senior who comes to terms with her sexuality when deciding what she’ll wear to the prom. While the premise of the film seems simple enough to follow, Banks’ exploration of femininity, girlhood, and Black identity is thought-provoking and feels deeply personal.
A critique about American culture that shatters patriarchal constructs, Banks wanted to tell a story that would “represent young Black women who struggle with identity issues and the ability to love themselves”. The story itself is incredibly nuanced and opens a conversation about assumptions within the cisgender and LGBTQ communities alike, while leaving us with a wonderful message about love, self-affirmation, and acceptance. If you were looking for a feel-good film, Suitable is a must-watch.
Banks’ colorful and stylish approach is in part thanks to cinematographer Dennis Zanatta, who constructed magical neon daydream sequences, inspired by the likes of Moonlight and Girlhood. But much of the magic also comes from the wardrobes and soundtrack. Hip hop and R&B is a big part of the narrative – and why wouldn’t it be? In high school, music is one of the first things that young people relate to as they experience deep emotions for the first time.
A Sundance alum with her short film Baldwin Beauty, Banks’ Suitable was one of six projects developed and partially funded by Film Independent’s Project Involve Program (which also gave us Lulu Wang’s Touch) and had a strong festival run, playing at the American Black Film Festival and more, before being released online.” – S/W Curator Chelsea Lupkin
Director: Thembi Banks
Writer: Rochée Jeffrey
Stars: Kelli Jordan, Tiffany Tenille, Derick Anthony
Director of Photography: Dennis Zanatta
Reproduced on this channel with the permission of the filmmakers.