Dimitri is a pizza delivery boy who also happens to be a bit of a talented artist. He has a girlfriend but is still living with his Mum. Driving While Black is the story of his (mis)adventures on the streets of Los Angeles where he meets up with his friends and gets hassled by the LAPD.
Ever since he was a young lad Dimitri has been given grief by the police for simply being just around. He’s a good sort, loyal to his friends and has a very good sense of humour, which is essential to the amount of times he gets pulled over in his car due to the police’s racial profiling. The film not only shows you Dimitri’s side but also follows around a bunch of cops who at times get great delight stopping cars and giving the drivers ‘some shit’. One of the cops is a particularly nasty individual, bigoted towards the black community and purveyor of homophobic remarks. If one guy needs a slap, it’s this dude.
Based on writer Dominique Purdy own experiences living in LA, it’s incredibly funny (with some great lines) and also very sad as the amount of crap thrown at people just because of the colour of their skin is simply intolerable. The movie has plenty of great characters, main and supporting with Purdy obviously taking the honours as Dimitri but there’s also a couple of really funny chaps who run a Hollywood Tours business. Keep an eye out for the one eyed pirate who’s only on screen for a moment but he’s priceless. Throughout the story our hero tries to get his interview at the tour business but is constantly hampered by events stopping him getting the job but he is determined to better himself.
Whilst I can’t imagine what life is like for the occupants of LA (as I am a white Englishman living in the suburbs) I can empathise with the way they are treated. The film is hilarious at points but it doesn’t stay away from the bigger picture, i.e. just because you’re of a certain race you should not be treated that way and the film makers should be very proud of themselves.
Simply a really good film that can be enjoyed and appreciated by almost anyone. It’s something very special and Driving While Black deserves lots of success.
- Starring Dominique Purdy Shelia Tejada Mayank Bhatter John Mead
- Director Paul Sapiano