With a light, tight touch, the filmmakers repeat what must be said as they extend the tribute she pays her forebears and contemporaries, constructing a sort of mise en abyme of solidarity. Right now, it’s difficult to imagine a more noble task an avant-garde film could perform.
Though they’re dressed in seventies garb, Gordon’s impassioned plea to continue fighting for racial equality, and to insist on the past and present visibility of black experience, is as urgent as ever.
Sugarcoated Arsenic is a fabricated reconstruction, an elemental compound. The film looks like a seamless approximation of archival footage, but that is not the point. Everson does not intend to trick the viewer with a believable spectacle. He and Harold are more interested in paying homage, in crafting visible evidence that can speak across and to various generations.