I have intentionally not learned too much about the new Candyman remake from director Nia DaCosta, still hoping to be surprised when the film hits theaters later this year. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to see a trailer in the form of a puppet trailer drop today:
The trailer features a stylized puppet and silhouette presentation of backstory to the film. While Tony Todd’s protrayal of the titular antagonist was hauntingly sympathetic and tragic, Dacosta’s trailer promises a new film with a perspective at least partially situated behind the eyes of a wronged black man looking for justice against an unfair, white system.
On twitter, director Nia Dacosta writes:
In the article “The Ancient Beginnings of the Art of Shadow Puppetry” at AncientOrigins.net Martini Fisher notes the ancient origin of the use of shadows and its meaning:
In his Republic, Plato mentions a cave [featuring a] shadow play performance where puppets of humans and animals were manipulated by a puppeteer … [the shadow puppets] are seen as a form of reality by the fettered audience. This story illustrates Plato’s discussion on the illusory nature of all perceptions.Sometimes referred to as the allegory of the cave.
This concept, the cast shadows as reality to those who do not know what they are seeing are merely shadows cast by reality, is one aspect of Plato’s observations on reality still discussed today. This concept of race and racial violence as something that is deliberately created and being manufactured for beings stuck in that cave — beings that due to a lack of context of any other world, see that cave with its shadow reality as true reality — promises to play a role in DaCosta’s vision for an updated CandyMan.
No spoilers, as I have not yet seen the film, but the prisoners in Plato’s allegory live out their lives with no desire to leave their prison because they aren’t aware of any alternative.. They do manage to break out eventually though by discovering the sun, which Plato uses as an analogy for the blinding source that keeps them from seeing the true nature of things. This allows them to escape: the discovery of thing keeping them from seeing the truth.
By all accounts this looks like a worthy follow-up to the 1992 original. The original Candyman isn’t a perfect movie, but it holds a special place in the hearts of all who grew up watching it at sleepovers or on late night TV in the 90s. If nothing else I was very excited to see them keep the iconic Philip Glass theme music.
Candyman is set to be released on September 25, 2020.