Director: Ayoka Chenzira Run Time: 85 min. Release Year: 1994
Starring: Jennifer Copeland, Kim Weston-Moran, Lee Dobson, Mizan Nunes, Victoria Gabrielle Platt
“A gorgeous clarion call for our young Black girls, heralding the community, creativity and confidence that is the pride of our culture.” – Ava DuVernay, IndieWire
”An integral part of ’90s Black cinema.” – Jamil David, Shadow and Act
“Chenzira’s much celebrated and award winning early work is essential viewing today as much as it was when first released in 1994.” – Julie Dash, IndieWire
“Timely and urgent. A complex portrait of Black womanhood that was all too uncommon for the era.” – Ronda Racha Penrice, The Wrap
Alma’s Rainbow is a coming-of-age comedy-drama about three Black women living in Brooklyn. Ayoka Chenzira’s feature film explores the life of teenager Rainbow Gold (Victoria Gabrielle Platt) who is entering womanhood and navigating conversations and experiences around standards of beauty, self-image, and the rights Black women have over their bodies. Rainbow attends a strict parochial school, studies dance, and is just becoming aware of boys. She lives with her strait-laced mother Alma Gold (Kim Weston-Moran), who runs a hair salon in the parlor of their home. When Alma’s free-spirited sister Ruby (Mizan Kirby) arrives from Paris after a 10-year absence, the sisters clash over what constitutes the “proper” direction Rainbow’s life should take. Alma has fooled herself into believing she has no need of male companionship and advises her daughter to follow her example. Ruby encourages both her niece and her sister to embrace life – and love – fully and joyfully. Alma’s Rainbow highlights a multi-layered Black women’s world where the characters live, love, and wrestle with what it means to exert and exercise their agency.
Restoration by the Academy Film Archive, Film Foundation, and Milestone Films. Restoration supervised by Mark Toscano. Funding provided by The Film Foundation and Hobson Lucas Family Foundation. Lab: Roundabout Entertainment and Audio Mechanics. With thanks to Vincent Pirozzi.