GREEN BOOK (12A)

Friday 26th April – 8:00 pm – £5

Green Book is a 2018 American biographical comedy-drama film directed by Peter Farrelly. Set in 1962, the film is inspired by the true story of a tour of the Deep South by Jamaican–American classical and jazz pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and Italian-American bouncer Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) who served as Shirley’s driver and bodyguard. The film was written by Farrelly, Brian Hayes Currie and Vallelonga’s son, Nick Vallelonga, based on interviews with his father and Shirley, as well as letters his father wrote to his mother.
The film is named after The Negro Motorist Green Book, a mid-20th century guidebook for African-American travelers written by Victor Hugo Green, to help them find motels and restaurants that would accept them at a time of widespread racial segregation and sunset towns. (all-white municipalities or neighborhoods in the United States that practice a form of segregation — historically by enforcing restrictions excluding people not white Anglo-Saxon Protestants via some combination of discriminatory local laws, intimidation, and violence. The term came from signs posted that “coloured people” had to leave town by sundown.) “At least until the early 1960s, northern states could be nearly as inhospitable to black travelers as states like Alabama or Georgia.”

New York City bouncer Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga is searching for new employment while the Copacabana nightclub, where he works, is closed for renovations. He is invited to an interview with “Doc” Don Shirley, an African American pianist who is looking for a driver for his eight-week concert tour through the Midwest and Deep South. Don hires Tony on the strength of his references. They embark with plans to return to New York on Christmas Eve.

Don’s record label gives Tony a copy of the Green Book.

Tony and Don initially clash; as Tony feels uncomfortable being asked to act with more refinement, while Don is disgusted by Tony’s habits. As the tour progresses, Tony is impressed with Don’s talent on the piano, and increasingly appalled by the discriminatory treatment which Don receives from his hosts and the general public when he is not on stage. A group of white men threatens Don’s life in a bar and Tony rescues him. He instructs Don not to go out without him for the rest of the tour. At one point they are incarcerated and Don asks to call his lawyer and uses the opportunity to reach Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who pressures the governor to release them.

Confronted with racism, danger-as well as unexpected humanity and humor-they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime.

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