Director Elegance Bratton discusses adapting his personal experience, visual influences like Claire Denis’s Beau Travail and Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers, and working with Jeremy Pope and Gabrielle Union.
Known for his affecting and dynamic documentary Pier Kids, about homeless queer and transgender youth in New York, and the Viceland series My House, on underground competitive ballroom dancing, filmmaker and photographer Elegance Bratton has made his ambitious narrative debut with The Inspection, a knockout drama based on his own experiences as a gay man in Marine Corps basic training following a decade of living on the streets. In a breathtaking first cinematic starring role, Tony– and Emmy–nominated actor Jeremy Pope is run through an emotional and physical gauntlet as a young man dealing with the intimidation of a sadistic sergeant (Bokeem Woodbine), his desire for a sympathetic superior (Raúl Castillo), and his complicated feelings toward the mother who rejected him (a revelatory Gabrielle Union). Bratton’s film is a nuanced portrait of American masculinity and evocation of the military during the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell era, as well as a forceful, electric work of autobiography.
The Inspection is now playing in theaters.
We’re excited to present the next editions of FLC Luminaries, our video series presented by Netflix, which spotlights talent at all levels of the filmmaking process who uplift the art and craft of cinema. Following premieres at the 60th New York Film Festival, Film at Lincoln Center had the chance to chat with a variety of filmmakers and dive into the writing and production processes, inspirations, collaboration on set, and more. Learn more here.