Screening Room: ‘I Am Not Your Negro’

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In the 1970s, James Baldwin started working on a book about his three friends who had been martyred for the civil rights cause: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The book was never finished. The spectacular and burningly relevant new documentary, I Am Not Your Negro, threads the pieces of that elegy through a skein of dramatic footage.

I Am Not Your Negro is opening this weekin limited release, followed by a full roll-out in February. My review is at PopMatters:

An elliptical film, I Am Not Your Negro is partially a history of the Civil Rights struggle from 1955 to 1968, framed by these three men. It’s also an unpacking of Baldwin’s take on white America’s inability to come to terms with race and racism, with which it remains obsessed but also, of which it remains ignorant. There is anger aplenty in the film, but Baldwin’s observations indicate the confusion that might be inevitable in trying to understand the “vast, unthinking cruel white majority”…

The trailer is here.

Weekend Reading: September 9, 2016

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Screening Room: ‘Do Not Resist’

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Following the Ferguson riots of 2014, there was a brief moment where the county noticed that all of a sudden, its police departments—stuffed with billions of dollars worth of military surplus and bristling with body armor, assault rifles, and make-my-day attitude—were looking more like a domestic military.

Craig Atkinson’s sober, occasionally terrifying Do Not Resist keeps the spotlight on the militarization of American police forces. It’s screening tomorrow night at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York and should be showing up around the country in more festival dates.

My review is at Eyes Wide Open:

The film starts in the tear gas-fogged streets of Ferguson, Missouri during the riots of August 2014 that followed the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager, by a white police officer. As the St. Louis County police department tries to clear the streets of protestors, their body armor and gas masks, plus their hulking dark-green armored transports, turn the scene into something out of a war zone, not a Midwestern suburb…

Weekend Reading: December 11, 2015

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