The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
I Am Not Your Negro
2016, Raoul Peck, France/USA, 93 min.
"The most important movie of the year so far...enthralling and provocative without turning into didacticism." — Eric Kohn, Indiewire
"Life-altering...you would be hard-pressed to find a movie that speaks to the present moment with greater clarity and force." — A.O. Scott, The New York Times
In 1979, the eminent African American author and public intellectual James Baldwin wrote a 30-page proposal for a book on three slain civil rights leaders — Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. — who had been his friends. The book remained unfinished at Baldwin’s death in 1987, but his surviving notes form the core of this provocative, compelling documentary. Those notes are interwoven with excerpts from other Baldwin writings (all powerfully voiced by Samuel L. Jackson), public speeches, talk-show appearances, news footage, and movie excerpts (from KING KONG to ELEPHANT) to fashion a wide-ranging but lucidly focused consideration of racism in America that is as startlingly and soberingly relevant today as it was in Baldwin’s time. DCP digital. (MR)
Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary
2016, John Scheinfeld, USA, 99 min.
"The genius of John Coltrane comes to life in an elegantly crafted documentary that can hook jazz novices as well as connoisseurs." — Owen Gleiberman, Variety
"A movie on a mission...Prepare to be dazzled." — Kelly Vance, East Bay Express
The first comprehensive documentary on the saxophone giant, CHASING TRANE begins in 1957, with Coltrane at a crossroads: he has just been fired from the Miles Davis Quintet for repeated drug use. Charlie Parker's heroin-hastened death two years earlier indicated one path to follow. Instead, after going cold turkey, Coltrane experienced a spiritual and musical awakening that took him to the farthest reaches of jazz and beyond, including such milestones as his crossover hit "My Favorite Things," his church-bombing elegy "Alabama," and his soaring 1964 album "A Love Supreme." Director Scheinfeld (THE U.S. VS. JOHN LENNON) chronicles this amazing journey with never-before-seen photographs and home movies; stunning performance footage; and Denzel Washington voicing Coltrane's words. In addition, a wide-ranging host of admirers (including Sonny Rollins, Jimmy Heath, McCoy Tyner, Carlos Santana, Common, John Densmore, Cornel West, and Bill Clinton) speak feelingly of the personal importance of Coltrane's music to them. As Santana says of Coltrane, “Some people play jazz. Some people play reggae. Some people play blues. He played life." DCP digital. (MR)