“That is the part where you look up and you say, ‘How could people have allowed their neighbors to be taken and put in the camps?’” Origin director Ava DuVernay says of the deep roots of discrimination and the cruel consequences of subjugation.
“Now, in a similar way, you allow it to come across your feed? You repost it and keep going?” the Oscar-nominated filmmaker adds. “The goal of Origin, of this work, is to say stop a second, realize what is going on, how close we are to this and to start to challenge our vocabulary.”
Based on Isabel Wilkerson’s 2020 bestseller Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents, Origin punctiliously tracks the Pulitzer Prize winner’s creative and personal journey over several continents through grief, revelation and the evils of historical stratification. Yet, with Oscar nominee Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor as Wikerson, this is a drama not a documentary. In that, from antiquity to India’s Dalit caste, once called Untouchables, to slavery in America and the segregation and violence of Jim Crow laws, and to the Nazis’ systematic persecution of Jews and the horrors of the Holocaust, Origin contains strong and scary connections to today’s political realities, domestic and international.