Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Friday, March 5 - Thursday, March 18, 2021

Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians await trailblazing performer, the legendary “Mother of the Blues,” Ma Rainey (Academy Award® winner Viola Davis). Late to the session, the fearless, fiery Ma engages in a battle of wills with her white manager and producer over control of her music. As the band waits in the studio’s claustrophobic rehearsal room, ambitious cornet player Levee (Chadwick Boseman) — who has an eye for Ma’s girlfriend and is determined to stake his own claim on the music industry — spurs his fellow musicians into an eruption of stories revealing truths that will forever change the course of their lives. 

 
Adapted from two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s play, MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM celebrates the transformative power of the blues and the artists who refuse to let society’s prejudices dictate their worth. Directed by George C. Wolfe and adapted for the screen by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, the film is produced by Fences Oscar® nominees Denzel Washington and Todd Black. Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, Michael Potts, Taylour Paige, Dusan Brown, Jeremy Shamos and Jonny Coyne co-star alongside Grammy® winner Branford Marsalis’ score.

Nominated for Actor in a Leading Role (Chadwick Boseman), Actress in a Leading Role (Viola Davis), Makeup and Hairstyling, Costume Design and Production Design

All screenings of MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM feature an exclusive video introduction from filmmaker George C. Wolfe, recorded to welcome back audiences to IFC Center for our reopening.

  • Country USA
  • Running Time 94 minutes
  • Director George C. Wolfe
  • Writer Ruben Santiago-Hudson
  • Producer Denzel Washington, Todd Black, Dany Wolf
  • Editor Andrew Mondshein
  • Cinematographer Tobias A. Schliessler
  • Cast Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, Michael Potts