“Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise,” a biographical documentary by Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack, is a powerful accomplishment, capturing in under two hours a comprehensive sense of the work the poet, author and activist made, and the life she lived fully in her eighty-six years. More than one reviewer has overlooked the virtue of slimmed yet comprehensive filmmaking like this, suggesting that yet another hours-long documentary miniseries would be preferable. Then again, Angelou did compose seven autobiographies. (What would be remarkable is an archive of the interviews she gave in mid- and late-career, orotund yet captivating in the particulars she shapes.) Sparking from the all-round adulation of those who describe the woman and her work in this fluent, stirring testimony, an entranced viewer will have much, much more to discover. 114m. (Ray Pride)
“Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise” opens Friday, November 11 at Siskel.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.