Ducat's documentary provides viewers with an insightful look into the world of a man who was dealt a bum hand, seemingly, from birth. Conceived out of an adulterous affair that threatened to rock the foundation of the relationship of his mother and her husband, Rembert was given away to be raised by a great aunt, and spent much of his childhood as a field worker beside her in the cotton and peanut fields of Cuthbert, Georgia. Much of Ducat's documentary shows Rembert, now based in New Haven, CT, back in Cuthbert, visiting the place and the people who would shape his future. All Me follows Rembert on a trip down a memory lane that makes stops at his childhood home, homes of friends, and throughout a city that was so rife with social and civil injustice, it would lead to Rembert finding himself on the wrong side of the law, while only trying to do what he knew was right.
What he loved to do, and what he was great at doing, was re-creating images of memories from throughout his life as leather and dye portraits. The first taste of artistic success for Rembert started off as gift for a family friend who had shown kindness to Rembert and his wife during a time in need. That friend saw the value in Rembert's artistry, sold the carved-leather portrait, and gave Rembert the proceeds. It was then that Rembert realized that the skill he'd picked up while serving time on trumped-up charges could possibly change his fortune in life. Rembert has expressed that most of his colorful carved-leather art depicts scenes and themes from African American life in segregated Cuthbert, GA and from the time he spent on those chain gangs.
Directed and produced by Ducat, "All Me" is essentially a film about a good man, born into a dire situation, who endured a rough patch in life as a young man, only to find success and acclaim in his latter years utilizing a skill he acquired during the rough times. It's a classic tale of this nation's sordid history of civil injustice, remarkably producing something beautiful and encouraging. Rembert's story is a positive reminder to all who see Ducat's film that life will undoubtedly sometimes takes us down unfavorable paths; but it's the lessons we take away from those situations that can determine who we'll become in the end.
The documentary "All Me: The Life and Times Of Winfred Rembert" is now available on home video (DVD and VOD).
Watch the full film via SnagFilms (parent company of IndieWire) below: