Johannesburg - The series adaptation of Natalie Baszile’s 2014 novel, Queen Sugar, sounds like the stuff of dreams. It’s directed and produced by Oscar-winning director Ava DuVernay, who insisted on an all-female director team, and its executive producer is media mogul and channel owner Oprah Winfrey.
The series is about the three Bordelon siblings. The eldest, Nova, is a healer, journalist and activist who is having a secret affair with a white policeman.
The middle child, Charley, lives a fab life with her superstar athlete husband and their teenage son in Los Angeles.
The youngest, Ralph Angel, is a single father to an adorable little boy called Blue, but he seems unable to get it together. He tries to hide the fact that he dabbles in crime to make some money, while also dealing with Blue’s mother, who is an unreliable drug addict.
When Ernest, the Bordelon patriarch and father of the three, dies, Charley decides to move back home to her father’s house (where her two siblings live) to try to figure herself out, but also to try to save their father’s sugar cane farm, which has fallen into disuse.
It’s a soapie-esque mix of family drama, secrets and sex with a touch of sport. The cinematography is gorgeous, and I don’t know how DuVernay and her team do it, but they light and shoot black skin beautifully. The script is great, and the music is wonderful.
The only flaw in the series (so far) is that it moves slooowly. DuVernay is clearly in no rush – the scenes linger, and sometimes painfully so.
However, languid pace aside, the show is off to a great start, with many ugly-cry and lump-in-your-throat moments. It’s well worth checking out.
Watch the trailer here:
Catch Queen Sugar Wednesdays at 21:30 on Vuzu Amp (DStv 103).
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