Echoes of History: Dee Rees and 'Mudbound'

"'Mudbound' doesn't exist in a vacuum: its characters are affected by the centuries of slavery that preceded them."
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Director Dee Rees Explores Racism in Post-War Mississippi in Mudbound

Netflix's Mudbound: Harsh and Beautiful, It's the Streamer's Greatest Cinematic Triumph Yet

"The epic yet intimate


from director Dee Rees isn't simply about an isolated, horrific event for a single black family or even a horrific period for black people in American history," writes

Kimber Myers

. "By covering an oft-overlooked era and lifestyle, Rees is adding to the larger cinematic narrative around the American black experience, deepening our understanding--and hopefully our empathy.



doesn't exist in a vacuum: its characters are affected by the centuries of slavery that preceded them, and their lives offer insight into the institutional racism and net worth inequality that continues to plague America today." To read the full article,

click here


"My focus is on getting the audience invested in the characters, because if you're invested in the characters you don’t care where we're going with it, you know?" Rees tells

Mike Ryan

. "And I wanted the audience to feel like just when you think you know what this movie is about, it changes.

"When you open it, you think it's just about these two brothers. Like that in itself could be a film. And then we come to see how these seven people that come together and why they can't get away from each other -- and the mud itself just becomes like a allegory for race and for time. It’s like we're all stuck and we're all mired in it, you know?"

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Instead of being a sprawling tapestry, the intertwined stories of two very different farming families (one black, one white) unfolds into one increasingly cohesive narrative," writes Chris O'Falt.

"It's almost like one story [that is] being handed off and everyone is [unaware] they are having similar conversations with themselves," said director Rees when she was a guest on IndieWire's Filmmaker Toolkit podcast. “At one point [cinematographer] Rachel [Morrison] was like, 'When has this ever worked?' And I was like, 'I don't know, but this will be the film where it works.'"

"To accomplish this, Rees grounds the audience in the subjectivity of six different protagonists, each with their own internal monologue. It's something a novel — like Hillary Jordan's Mudbound, which Rees and co-writer Virgil Williams adapted — can do effortlessly by accessing the internal thoughts of various characters, but is considered to be impossible on the big screen." To read the full article, click here.

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