Quest screens on April 5 at 2 p.m. on Hanesbrands Theatre, April 7 at 5 p.m. at SECCA and April 8 at 2 p.m. at UNCSA Babcock.

Cutting against the stereotype of black urban America as a cesspit of squalor, Quest presents a gentle portrait of a family in North Philadelphia that, while buffeted by calamity, provides an anchor for their community. The home studio operated by Christopher “Quest” Rainey is a haven. And despite his daughter narrowly surviving a stray bullet, his worry for his own family doesn’t preclude broader social activism to stop the violence. Christine’a “Ma Quest” Rainey, despite working a demanding job at a women’s shelter and raising her two children, still finds time to dote over a wayward but promising emcee who books time in the studio.

Bracketed between the sea-change presidential elections of 2008 and 2016, Quest makes the point, even if inadvertently, that life America’s most vulnerable communities is little changed by electoral outcomes, even while its protagonists do their part to promote political engagement. More importantly, the amount of time committed to following the Rainey family renders an exquisite and revealing portrait.

— Jordan Green

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