Home Editorials A ‘must see’ movie: The Book of Clarence

A ‘must see’ movie: The Book of Clarence

by William T. Robinson, Jr
William T. Robinson, Jr.

A ‘must see’ movie that is (for whatever reason) not heavily advertised is The Book of Clarence. I was made aware of it by word of mouth and was surprised to find its viewing is limited by most theaters to one showing or two, at the most, each day. I will let you decide for yourself why there seems to be action taken by some to keep this a low-profile movie. Nevertheless, it made its movie theater debut Jan. 12.

Personally, I viewed it with the same vigor excitement, and deference as the Black Panther movie. The protagonist, Clarence, as well as the biblical population depicted in the movie, are rightfully portrayed as people of color. The acting is stellar and references are made that many people, especially people of color, can relate to today.  

Although the movie is viewed as a comical satire, it will arouse all your emotions. The time is depicted as around 33 A.D., as the film chronicles a young man, Clarence, down of his luck looking for a better way to improve his lot in life and prove he isn’t a nobody. He devises a scheme to imitate Jesus by orchestrating miracles using deception and trickery. He is able to capitalize financially and gain a following. The ramifications of his actions are seen throughout the movie, eventually bringing about his crucifixion.

Please do not let anyone lead you to believe the movie is a real depiction or nonfiction and blasphemous. I reiterate, once again, The Book of Clarence is fiction. However, you will find a lot of authentic scenes you can identify with from your knowledge or understanding of the Bible. But do not be misled by those who want to personally change the narrative of the story, projecting it as something it is not. It is pure entertainment that makes you smile and laugh while also provoking deep thought for conscientious viewers.

I found it interesting and innovative how the humor intermingled with the deep significance of The Book of Clarence. For me the movie covered such issues as jealousy, envy, faith, love, forgiveness, and redemption with tinges of humor subtly sprinkled throughout. 

I would speculate that low attendance to the film is due to lack of advertising—and to be frank, the depiction of Clarence as Jesus as well as the people of that area being Black. The movie definitely has an Afrocentric flavor highlighting a humorous Black perspective. While it is historically correct that Jesus and the other people in the Bible were people of color, many (especially Whites) may feel uncomfortable because they were taught to believe Jesus and biblical characters were White.

I have an uncomfortable feeling that ‘forces-that-be’ are intentionally trying to block or limit the assess of this movie to the public. It is so mind provoking that it may wake people, initiating deep thought on many levels. I found it interesting that while the movie takes place during biblical times, you can tie it to the social, economic and political conditions of today.

I personally value movies that leave you with a conscientious message, while at the same time entertaining you. But in all honesty, I can see why The Book of Clarence may appeal more to Blacks than Whites. Events and messages abound that so many Blacks can identify with, personally, and so many scenes have an Afrocentric flavor.

Once again, I recommend that you ‘run don’t walk’ to see The Book of Clarence. I also suggest that African Americans demand movie theaters in their cities show the movie continuously and stop limiting screenings. The movie is only playing for short periods of time, if at all, at theaters. 

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