Not having the luxury of time for extended exposition in Last Summer, Asha Bynum wisely trusts in the intelligence of the viewing audience. The writer and director allows those watching to fill in the contextual holes regarding the tragic death of a young Black man. His two brothers, Demarcus (Michael Cooper) and Jeremy (Tyler Valentine), mourn his passing with an informal memorial on a rooftop.
Like all family members of those lost to senseless violence, their lives from this point forward are to be dominated by questions of what could have been. While we are not privy to the act, Bynum relays enough information about the missing brother, so we know that he was, at worst, a young man with a penchant for drinking Red Bulls and riding his skateboard. Skateboarding isn’t a crime, but maybe that adage only applies to a specific demographic. These glimpses into the deceased’s life are fascinating.
“…the tragic death of a young Black man. His two brothers…mourn his passing with an informal memorial…”
However, I was less enthralled with the brief reminiscing the two men engage in as it feels scripted and only highlights the inexperience of the performers. The emotions conveyed by the circumstances and imagery would have been better served without such specificity.
Even so, Last Summer is a seven-minute film that delivers its message with such precision it is impressive. Bynum has a spirit and a voice that demand attention, and one can only hope that there will be more to come from her.
"…delivers its message with such precision it is impressive."