Last night at the Oscars, Janelle Monáe opened up the ceremony with a delightful, time-hopping journey through Mr. Rogers, her own brand of futurist funk, and the old-fashioned glamor of Hollywood mixed with the contemporary film classics of 2019. In the upcoming 2020 horror film Antebellum, starring Monáe, she also seems to be colliding through different time periods simultaneously. But based on these newly released pictures, they seem less “fun” and more “terrifyingly interrogating the traumas of America.”
Beyond Monáe, Antebellum also stars Kiersey Clemons, Gabourey Sidibe, Jena Malone, Jack Huston, Eric Lange, Tongayi Chirisa, Robert Aramayo, and Marque Richardson. It was written and directed by first-time feature filmmakers Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, who’ve made splashes with stylized music videos from artists like Jay-Z and Maxwell. While the specific plot details of the film are being kept purposefully cryptic, every tantalizing piece of marketing released thus far promises some of kind surreal, nightmarish alternate reality based on the worst facets of American history that Monáe gets stuck in — and these pictures starkly highlight the differences between those two lives.