Astoundingly beautiful and epic in scope, That’s My Face (é minha cara) is a personal documentary offering an entire generation of African Americans a groundbreaking perspective on the maddening diasporic search for a mythic motherland. In healing his own cultural yearnings, director Thomas Allen Harris journeys beyond the political movements of his day and into a spiritual realm where he finds much more then he expects.
His grandparents’ African Methodist-Episcopal church taught Thomas as a child that Africa was a place that could only be saved by Christian missionaries. But his rebellious mother was part of the 1970s’ movement that regarded Africa as home “because we knew America didn’t want us” and migrated the family to Tanzania, East Africa. When they arrived in the modern city of Dar-es-Saalam, Africa seemed more like Miami than the motherland they imagined.
Thomas learned to love Africa for what it was, but when he returned to the Bronx, he was unable to express his newfound identity. Even his African Methodist-Episcopalian faith failed to provide him comfort until he learned from an Afro-Brazilian friend that beneath the patina of conventional Christian iconography is a rich double life of African ancestral spirit worship. Like his mother, Thomas embarks on a migration across the ocean, this time to Brazil, in an effort to find a sense of home and belonging.