Does Your Favorite Movie Pass the ‘DuVernay Test’?

By Kenrya Rankin Feb 01, 2016

As the #OscarsSoWhite controversy continues to rage, filmgoers now have a new measure they can use to judge if a movie includes diversity in its DNA.

In a story about how the Sundance Film Festival is working to diversify Hollywood and the significance of 2016 darling “The Birth of a Nation,” The New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis coined the term “the DuVernay test,” which she describes as such:

It’s also where numerous selections pass the Bechdel test (movies like the very fine “Christine” and “Sand Storm,” in which two women talk to each other about something besides a man) and, in honor of the director and Sundance alumna Ava DuVernay, what might be called the DuVernay test, in which African Americans and other minorities have fully realized lives rather than serve as scenery in white stories.

She then went on to name check a couple movies from this year’s festival that pass the test: Chad Hartigan’s “Morris From America,” about a 13-year-old boy living in Germany; and Sara Jordeno’s “Kiki,” a documentary about the current vogueing scene.

DuVernay, whose films consistently pass the test, was thrilled at the idea: