The short film directed by Victor K. Gabriel (directed short film Black Boys Can’t Cry) is part of the 10th annual Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF). Hallelujah made its world premiere at Sundance this year and in 14 tight minutes is an attempt to bring to the table visually a touching and thought-provoking depiction of what the Black experience in America is like.
Two brothers, Paper (Bruce Lemon – Killing the Dog) and Chetty (Richard Nevels – from television’s Insecure), living in Compton, California have been, after a painful loss, given the responsibility of being guardians of their 13-year-old nephew, Hallelujah (Stephen Laroy Thomas – first film), and niece, Lila (Mariah Pharms).
Paper and Chetty have to have a serious discussion as to whether they are capable of the big undertaking of raising these two youngsters. Their competency in this area is even recognized by the cheeky, bookworm, Hallelujah.
What the film does do well is that it allows the viewer to figure out for themselves what is going on. And how they feel about the situation. Makes you think about what can come out of a loss. How, in tough times, family can stick together to get through it.
Director Gabriel does a good job of combining sadness and comedy. A tricky ask and he handles it well.