RESIDUE (2020) with filmmaker Merawi Gerima: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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RESIDUE (2020) with filmmaker Merawi Gerima

The image of a young boy with dark skin tone in close up layered with the image of fireworks
RESIDUE (2020)
7 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Thu February 9, 2023
7 PM


The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public



RESIDUE with filmmaker Merawi Gerima

(Merawi Gerima, 2020, 90 min, digital)


Drawing from his upbringing, Merawi Gerima’s debut feature film RESIDUE (2020) follows a young filmmaker returning to Washington DC’s Q Street, a community that raised him, to find it nearly unrecognizably changed by gentrification. Jay (Obi Nwachukwu) decides to work against the transformation by writing a script, something to give “a voice to the voiceless”—a decision met with contempt and skepticism by old friends and neighbors. The film’s narration itself questions that logic early on, asking whether the camera is a weapon for community resistance or a tool of archeological excavation—a line of inquiry not easily resolved. Balancing presence and absence sensitively, Gerima gives weight to the losses while also creating a vivid archive of the people and places that remain. RESIDUE does so with an exceptional ensemble of largely non-professional actors, including family and passersby from the neighborhood; a hypnotic tapestry of city sounds; and a kaleidoscopic visual style that uses multiple video formats to interweave past and present, acts of remembrance and efforts to dream. A lyrical ode to Black life and community in a vanishing city, RESIDUE represents an essential contribution to a cinematic lineage that includes Charles Burnett’s KILLER OF SHEEP (1978) and Spike Lee’s DO THE RIGHT THING (1989).

About the artist:

Merawi Gerima is a filmmaker from Washington, DC. This origin informs his work and his community-centered orientation. RESIDUE, his first feature, was a communal endeavor, made possible primarily by the effort of the people it attempts to portray.

Presented with support from the MFA in Documentary Media at Northwestern University and the Hoffman Visiting Artist Fund.

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at