Black Film

Deadpan (Steve McQueen, 1997)

Turner Prize-winning artist Steve McQueen—now best known for his feature films, Hunger, Shame, and 12 Years a Slave—put himself in the line of fire in Deadpan (1997), a restaging of Buster Keaton’s falling house gag from Steamboat Bill Jr. McQueen does more than remake the stunt; his presence as a black man transforms the work into a commentary on race relations and the precariousness of the black experience. 

"Damage Control: How Artists Destroy to Create Art"

(Source: adrowningwoman)


dynamicafrica:

Nigerians Abroad

Reality show focused on the lives of a few Nigerians living and trying to make a living in Los Angeles.  

A very well-produced series that’s far more real and interesting than a lot of other reality TV shows I’ve come across.

Source: Bellanaija.com via 37thstate


afreefa:

I’m crying so hard!

British Pathé just put a massive archive of 90.000 historical videos online. Including videos of Ghana’s celebration of independence in 1957 and the opening of Ghana Parliament in 1960. This is golden! Goosebumps! 


blackfilm:

The Rose of Rhodesia*

The story concerns, at least initially, the theft of a diamond from a Rhodesian mining concern. The diamond is called ‘the rose of Rhodesia’, but Shaw develop this into a deeper metaphor, as Rose is the name of a gold prospector’s daughter (played by Edna Flugrath, Harold Shaw’s wife), who falls in love with Fred Winter, the overseer who has stolen the diamond, before transferring her affections to a missionary’s son, Jack Morel, played by M.A. Wetherell. Jack is friendly with Mofti, son of the chieftan Ushakapilla, and a white rose is exchanged as a symbol of their friendship. Ushakapilla is planning an uprising against white rule, and expects his reluctant son to adopt the cause, but after Mofti’s accidental death and news that his people’s ancestral lands has been granted to them by the “great white Chief”, Ushakapilla relents. Rose returns the diamond to the mining corporation (it had been found by one of Ushakapilla’s men), and therewardmoney enables she and Jack to marry.

The Rose of Rhodesia is distinguished in particular by its portrayal of Africans. The African parts were taken by members of the M’fengu people, with Ushakapilla played by ‘Chief’ Kentani (probably a local headman) and Mofti by ‘Prince’ Yumi (possibly a migrant worker or student). The portrayals are sympathetic and convincing, and the friendship between Mofti and Jack Morel affecting and unforced. The theme of African discontent over loss of lands reflects genuine feelings of the time, and the potential for uprising was one that greatly exercised white authorities at the time (to the degree that the film could never have been made in Rhodesia itself, where the authorities greatly feared cinema’s subversive potential, and was instead filmed at Sea Point studio in Cape Town and by the spectacular Bawa Falls in Eastern Cape – none of the film was made in Rhodesia). It may be felt that the films shies away from what seems to be its initial interest – to depict African versus white tensions – by playing it safe with a story of diamond stealing. via

for more information, check out The Bioscope

*in German. English subtitles in a separate transcript here


Rap artist, Philippe Prosper uses RACIALLY CHARGED, daring images and lyrics to attack all stereotypes, calling us all out on how silly and damaging they can be.

IMAGES of BLACK FACE, WHITE FACE, YELLOW FACE intertwined with controversial characters: a white oppressive colonialist, blacks gangsters with fried chicken and watermelon, and dog eating, martial arts fighting, asian nerds, this video exposes HATE in a satirical, poignant way.

artist: philippe prosper

website: philippeprosper.com

facebook.com/iamphilippeprosper

twitter @philippeprosper

contact: info@wonderusinc.com


blackfilm:

Desert Flower*

From the Somali desert to the world’s catwalks. When Waris Dirie’s DESERT FLOWER appeared in 1998, the world was shocked. The former supermodel tells her breathtaking life story, describing her incredible journey from a nomadic life in the deserts of Somalia to the world’s most famous catwalks. This was a dream and a nightmare at the same time. In New York, at the peak of her career, she tells in an interview of the practice of female genital mutilation that she had to suffer when she was five. Waris Dirie decides to end her life as a model and dedicate her life to fighting this ritual. via The Desert Flower Foundation

*in full with English subtitles

for more information on the film click here


nigerianostalgia:

Monday’s Girls explores the conflict between modern individualism and traditional communities in today’s Africa through the eyes of two young Waikiriki women from the Niger delta. Although both come from leading families in the same large island town, Florence looks at the iria women’s initiation ceremony as an honor, while Azikiwe, who has lived in the city for ten years, sees it as an indignity. Ngozi Onwurah, director of such feminist classics as Coffee Coloured Children and Body Beautiful, herself an Anglo-Nigerian, turns a wry but sympathetic eye on the cross-cultural confusions.

The five week long iria ritual is overseen by post-menopausal women headed by the redoubtable Monday Moses (hence the title.) The girls are paraded bare-breasted before the entire community so their nipples can be examined to determine whether they are still virgins. They are then confined to the “fattening rooms,” their legs immobilized in copper impala rings, where they are pampered and fed. Finally, the girls, now women, are presented to society, wearing yards of fabric around their waists indicating each family’s wealth - and suggesting pregnancy.

The film traces the girls’ contrasting responses to each stage of the ritual. Florence, who is Monday’s granddaughter, comments at the end of the ceremony, “I’m not fat, but I am grown up now,” but even she decides to postpone marriage until she completes her education. Azikiwe refuses to bare her breasts and, as a result, her father is fined by the outraged villagers and she is sent back to the city in disgrace. She concludes: “There are some traditions people should forget.”


digitaldesperados:

What makes a documentary radical? In this film, artist LaToya Ruby Frazier reveals the personal story behind a series of videos and photographs of her family in Braddock, Pennsylvania, a selection of which were exhibited in “Video Studio: Changing Same” at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Employing and upending documentary traditions as a means to disrupt media stereotypes, Frazier collaborates with her mother and grandmother as fellow artists, giving them agency in depictions of themselves, their family, and the broader community. Interrogating how the toxic geography of Braddock has shaped multiple generations of her family’s bodies and psychology, Frazier’s images of her hometown mirror complex social problems that beset America today such as class inequity, access to health care, and environmental racism. “The mind is the battleground for photography,” says Frazier, who creates images that “tell my story because it hasn’t been told.” Featuring excerpts from the artist’s videos “Grandma Ruby” (2009), “A Mother to Hold” (2006), “Momme Portrait Series (Heads)” (2008), “Momme Portrait Series (Wrestle)” (2009), “Detox (Braddock U.P.M.C.)” (2011), and “Self-Portrait (United States Steel)” (2010), as well as photographs from the series “Notion of Family” (2002-ongoing).

LaToya Ruby Frazier (b. 1982, Braddock, Pennsylvania, USA) lives and works in New Brunswick, New Jersey and New York, New York.

CREDITS | “New York Close Up” Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor: Brad Kimbrough. Cinematography: Don Edler. Additional Camera: LaToya Ruby Frazier. Sound: Nicholas Lindner & Wesley Miller. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Production Assistant: Paulina V. Ahlstrom, Don Edler, Amanda Long & Maren Miller. Design: Crux Studio & Open. Artwork: LaToya Ruby Frazier. Thanks: Frazier Family, Thomas Lax & Studio Museum in Harlem. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2012. All rights reserved.

"New York Close Up" is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Toby Devan Lewis, the Dedalus Foundation, Inc., and the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc. Additional support provided by The 1896 Studios & Stages.

For more info: art21.org/newyorkcloseup