The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
I Am The Blues
2015, Daniel Cross, Canada, 107 min.
"A film with the utmost cultural value, a must-see." — Matthew Ritchie, Exclaim!
"There is something miraculous about this patient little film...The director leaves ample room for the music, and it will take your breath away." — T'Cha Dunlevy, Montreal Gazette
Part oral history, part jam session, part back-roads odyssey, I AM THE BLUES journeys to the Delta country of Mississippi and Louisiana to seek out some of the last and most authentic practitioners of the quintessential African American art form known as the blues. Illustrious bluesman Bobby Rush serves as our unofficial tour guide, but the emphasis is on lesser-known Chitlin' Circuit veterans like Jimmy "Duck" Holmes, LC Ulmer, Barbara Lynn, Lazy Lester, Henry Gray, and Carol Fran. There are no big concerts and few onstage performances — most of this intimate film takes place in juke joints, front porches, parking lots, and pickup trucks, where we join the musicians as they hang out, swap stories, recall the past, and spontaneously perform spellbinding music that seems inseparable from their surroundings. DCP digital. (MR)
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)