Science fiction has long been a nifty (and sometimes cracked) lens through which to refract the pressing issues of the modern world in fascinating ways. Case in point: See You Yesterday, an upcoming Spike Lee-produced movie that dares to take on the topic of Black Lives Matter through the genre of time travel.
Directed and co-written by Stefon Bristol (Lee's assistant on BlacKkKlansman), the film centers on C.J. (Eden Duncan-Smith) and Sebastian (Dante Crichlow), two science whizzes who invent a way to actually travel into the past. Where any other teen-centric premise with such a sci-fi twist would lead to trivial adolescent hijinks, this movie gets serious when C.J. uses the device to stop her older brother (Parish Bradley) from being mercilessly gunned down in the street by police officers.
Still, it won't be that easy, because when it comes to time travel, your central characters are often working against the inscrutable machinations of the wider universe.
Watch the first trailer now:
"See You Yesterday [is] a sci-fi adventure grounded in familial love, cultural divides and the universal urge to change the wrongs of the past," reads Netflix's official description of the feature, which becomes available to watch next month.
Genre fans may have noticed that the film bears more than a passing resemblance to the third episode of Jordan Peele's Twilight Zone revival, "Replay." In that episode, an African-American mother (Sanaa Lathan) driving her son (Damson Idris) to college is continually hounded by a racist cop (Glenn Fleshler), even after she's able to reverse time with the help of an old camcorder.
With that said, it's an exciting (not to mention important) time when pop culture can explore these heavy topics in the hopes of starting a larger dialogue about the problems that need to be addressed and solved in our society. As we stated above, science fiction is often the best way to tackle those stories in a way that can bring a fresh perspective to social issues that affect our real world.
See You Yesterday time-travels onto Netflix Friday, May 17.