By Tricia Hall
Sojourner’s Truth Reporter
Sons of Toledo delivers a 20-minute documentary-style narrative experience through the eyes of local barber Marc for the audience.
The film opens with a dramatic wide-shot of the main character, Marc’s, morning routine which is disrupted after receiving a frantic call from his mother. The audience’s response to hearing both sides of the conversation was heartbreaking.
The audience learns, within the first five minutes of the film, through the two-way conversation that Marc’s younger brother was murdered because of gun violence. Marc has to continue his workday by opening and working at an urban barber shop before dealing with the funeral arrangements for his younger brother.
The film includes several remarkable Toledo-area shots that showcase the pulse and feel of the city’s urban life. However, before the audience can comprehend Marc’s trauma, the film delivers another emotional moment. Grab your tissue as you watch the authentic bond and brotherhood displayed between the barbers and clients. The barber shop conversations also dive into discussing gun violence and trauma with a sprinkle of laughter and jokes.
The audience experiences flashes of Marc’s trauma by viewing visual flashes that represent Marc’s brother tragic death. Marc remains composed throughout the day while he receives comfort and encouragement from the male and female clients who visit the shop.
The emotional journey with Marc continues as he visits Day Funeral Home to view the body of his deceased brother, Terrance. The director continues to draw the audience into Marc’s journey through an opening shot of Marc looking down at his brother. A long shot slowly becomes a close-up tender moment as Marc touches his brother and proceeds to line up Terrance’s hairline.
That emotional moment highlighted the bond between the two brothers even in death and was elevated by the closing scene. The film closes with two strong visual scenes. The first scene is a row of black men who are deceased as Marc uses his skills lining each of the men’s hairlines. The second and final closing scene is a panoramic shot of Black men and Black boys standing on the High-Level Bridge.
Audiences should line up to view this film if they missed the opportunity during the previews.
The film features Toledo-area visuals and appearances including: former Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks Hudson, current Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, food trucks, neighborhood murals and the Day Funeral Home. Immediately following the film, the audience erupted with tears, applause and a standing ovation for the cast and crew.
The director, Monty Cole, shared thoughts about the themes of film which includes brotherhood, family and mud. “This film challenges you to view barbers and their ability to build communities differently. The mud for example, a metaphor for being stuck, shaking off trauma, images are strong.”
The film was featured during the Arts Commission 2021 Momentum and is available for public viewing Thursday through Saturday. The Thursday premier invited the audience to provide feedback, comments and questions about the current version. The film finished production in late August, completed all filming in one week and is currently still in post-production. The premier was held at KeyBank Discovery Theatre located inside the newly renovated Imagination Station.
Sons of Toledo first began through a partnership with ProMedica Men’s Health and Barber Shop program.