What is “Fruitvale Station” about? The film “Fruitvale Station” tells the story of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old San Francisco Bay Area resident killed in 2009 by a transit officer at the Fruitvale Station stop on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART).
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The film debuted at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize Award for U.S. dramatic films, and after screening at the Un Certain Regard section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, it earned a Best First Film award for Ryan Coogler, the writer and director behind the independent drama.
The question “What is ‘Fruitvale Station’ about” is somewhat complicated, as the film takes viewers through the final day of Oscar Grant’s life. Grant, played by Michael B. Jordan, was fatally shot in the back by officer Johannes Mehserle in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 2009, and his killing—which occurred while he was visibly restrained—was captured on cell phone camera by numerous BART riders. While it’s a subject begging for political commentary, Coogler says he resisted the urge to make that type of film.
“Everything becomes politicized, and pretty soon you’re not human,” Coogler, a graduate of the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, told BET.
What “Fruitvale Station” is about, in a basic sense, is a young man that Coogler is careful to paint as no saint. The movie deals with “the mundane and the exciting,” according to a New York Times piece, and it shows Grant committing crimes and cheating on his girlfriend, the mother of his child. On another level, “Fruitvale Station” is about the human life and what the means in an age of urban violence and viral videos.
“I wanted the audience to get to know this guy, to get attached,” Coogler told the Times, “so that when the situation that happens to him happens, it’s not just like you read it in the paper, you know what I mean? When you know somebody as a human being, you know that life means something.”
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