THE 40-YEAR-OLD VER­SION

Empire (UK) - - ON SCREEN -

★★★★ OUT 9 OC­TO­BER / NET­FLIX / CERT TBC / 129 MINS

DIREC­TOR Radha Blank,

CAST Radha Blank, Peter Y. Kim, Oswin Ben­jamin

Tak­ing its cues from Spike Lee and Woody Allen, Radha Blank’s di­rec­to­rial de­but is a whip-smart com­edy shot on black-and-white 35mm. Radha (Blank) is a once-hot play­wright and in­ner-city drama teacher who for years has been strug­gling to get her stage-play ‘Har­lem Ave’ pro­duced. Torn be­tween stay­ing true to her au­then­tic self, or al­low­ing the lib­eral colo­nial­ism of white pro­duc­ers and di­rec­tors to dic­tate the lens through which she is sup­posed to car­i­ca­ture her com­mu­nity, Radha takes up rap­ping to vent her frus­tra­tions and find the creative free­dom she has been yearn­ing for. En­dear­ing, eru­dite and drip­ping with hu­mour, Blank serves up an au­then­tic commentary on the artist’s strug­gle, from a per­spec­tive too of­ten ig­nored, and de­liv­ers a lyri­cal love let­ter to New York.

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