LOVE AND BASKETBALL CRITERION COLLECTION BLU RAY REVIEW

Gina Prince Bythewood is a director who has probably more than her far share of quality and popular films. This is a rare skill and even rarer in American cinema for a woman and a woman of colour. LOVE AND BASKETBALL from 2000 was her first film and it is clear to see where she carved out her form. Its 1981 and a young Monica Wright (Kyla Pratt) and young Quincy McCall (Glenndon Chatman) live next door to each other. She plays ball and he hates it. He loves her and she is not sure. Jump forward 20 years Quincy McCall (Omar Epps) and Monica Wright (Sanaa Lathan) live next door to each other still but now they play for a living. She is hot headed but skilled, he has grown from youth to be as good as his father (Dennis Haysbert).

Now of course at this point, some will be complaining how we should acknowledge the work of a major name here. Yes, we could discuss the contribution of Spike Lee, who produced the film but I would start by suggesting that the viewer listen to the 2000 commentary from PrinceBythewood and actor Sanaa Lathan.  LOVE AND BASKETBALL is her film, almost totally. It is important to understand from Lathan, how directed she was by PrinceBythewood. Now as the love blossoms between the two, from the courts to the bedroom, their desires and aims to be the best basketball players stand in the way of any future happiness. A usual process in the melodrama here but thanks to a stronger toned script its focus on male pride, female deference and social indifference, lifts it. So does the form used here.

The new 4K restoration has granted this form a fresh new visual tone. It has, thankfully, not really over played its hand here however. The frame is not polluted by degrading or washes. No colour loss. No frame fixes that cause problems. The editing documentary featuring Bythewood and editor Terilyn A. Shropshire, extrapolates the details of why this is important. The other extra of note here is the Three short films by Prince-Bythewood: Stitches (1991), Progress (1997), and Bowl of Pork (1997), with a new introduction by Prince-Bythewood. This is not only added value but great extras to dig in to. Revealing a rich cinematic skill.

  • • New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Gina Prince Bythewood, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
  • • Audio commentary from 2000 featuring PrinceBythewood and actor Sanaa Lathan
    • Playing for Your Heart, a new making-of documentary featuring Prince Bythewood, Lathan, actors Omar Epps and Alfre Woodard, Reggie Rock Bythewood, and basketball adviser Colleen Matsuhara.
  • • Editing “Love & Basketball,” a new program featuring Bythewood and editor Terilyn A. Shropshire
    • New conversation on the film’s impact among Prince-Bythewood, founding WNBA player Sheryl Swoopes, and writer-producer-actor Lena Waithe
    • Audition tape excerpts and six deleted scenes
    • Three short films by Prince-Bythewood: Stitches (1991), Progress (1997), and Bowl of Pork (1997), with a new introduction by Prince-Bythewood
  • • Trailer
    • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
    • PLUS: An essay by author Roxane Gay

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