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The only one of August Wilson's plays to be filmed (and for television, at that), this 1990 Pulitzer Prize-winner is an amazing piece of work. Adapted by Wilson and directed by Lloyd Richards, who staged it on Broadway, the play deals not just with racism and its effects but with the ongoing legacy and curse of slavery on modern blacks. Set in 1920s Pittsburgh, the story deals with the arrival of Boy Willie (Charles Dutton) from Mississippi, to claim a family heirloom from his sister Berniece (Alfre Woodard): the piano, carved by their ancestors with symbols of slavery. He wants to sell it to buy the land his grandfather worked as a slave; Berniece refuses to give it up because it represents a horrifying episode from the family's past. Add in ghosts, superb performances, and Wilson's poetically charged writing, and you have a startlingly solid piece of theater that works well as a film. --Marshall Fine
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