Tribeca Film Fest Review: Queen of Glory
Nana Mensah wrote, directed, and stars in the 2021 film, Queen of Glory. The film had its world premiere as part of the Tribeca Film Festival’s “US Narrative Competition.” Mensah plays Sarah Obeng, the daughter of Ghanaian immigrants who is a doctoral student at Columbia University. From the film’s start, Sarah displays both her continued connection to her Ghanaian heritage and her American-ness. She drops off supplies to be sent to her estranged father back in Ghana, visits her opinionated aunties, and later, meets up with her married boyfriend, who heads her department at Columbia.
Sarah plans to leave New York for Ohio, and move in with her boyfriend where he will begin a new job and they can (presumably) start fresh after he separates from his family. She is scheduled to leave in a week. Things take a detour when she receives sudden news that her mother has died from an aneurysm. Sarah heads home to the Bronx to take care of her mother’s funeral arrangements, first, the “white person funeral” that is more like a wake, followed by the more traditional Ghanaian funeral expected by the elders who loved her mother. Her father arrives from Ghana and is a reminder of the more traditional expectations and gender roles of her upbringing. Sarah, however, is not immediately ready to comply. Sarah is in shock upon learning that she has inherited both her mother’s home and the Christian bookstore she owned, run by a former convict (played by the excellent Meeko Gattuso). Before Sarah can move on with her life, she first has to help wrap up her mother’s. Her plan is to sell both.