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“Origin”: Ava DuVernay’s New Film Dramatizes “Caste,” from U.S. Racism to India’s Dalits to Nazi Germany

Written by on 02/02/2024

We speak with award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay about her latest feature film, Origin, which explores discrimination in the United States and beyond through a dramatization of the book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson, whose process of writing the book is a central part of the film’s story. DuVernay, whose previous projects include Selma and 13th, says she was captivated by the ideas in the book after reading it in 2020 amid mass protests over the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. “Isabel Wilkerson writes it in a beautiful way, but it is pretty dense material. And so my goal was to attach character into that so that there could be a deeper empathy,” DuVernay tells Democracy Now! “The film follows Isabel Wilkerson in her pursuit of truth as she writes the book.”

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