The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
Ephraim Asili: Diaspora Suite
2011-17, Ephraim Asili, Various nations, ca. 92 min.
- Thu, Feb 22nd 6:00pm
In 2011, New York-based filmmaker, DJ, and traveler Ephraim Asili began an extraordinary suite of films on the African diaspora. These films — FORGED WAYS (2011), AMERICAN HUNGER (2013), MANY THOUSANDS GONE (2015), KINDAH (2016), and FLUID FRONTIERS (2017) — bring together archival research and Asili’s travels through Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jamaica, and the United States to chart cultural connections across time and space. FLUID FRONTIERS, for example, explores ideas of resistance and liberation through Detroit’s Broadside Press, one of the most important imprints for Black poetry. Asili asks residents of Detroit and nearby Windsor to read these poems without rehearsal, potently collapsing history, contemporary politics, and art through their magnetic performances. In earlier works like AMERICAN HUNGER, Asili knits together images from Ghana’s Cape Coast slave fort and the New Jersey shore in an effort to understand his own relationship with Western colonialism and U.S. imperialism. Digital file. Presented in collaboration with SAIC’s Video Data Bank. (George William Price and Amy Beste)
Purge This Land
2017, Lee Anne Schmidt, USA, 80 min.
- Thu, Mar 1st 6:00pm
Just before his execution, white abolitionist John Brown wrote, “I am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.” In her new film, PURGE THIS LAND, L.A.-based filmmaker Lee Anne Schmitt uses Brown’s legacy to consider the long shadows of slavery and systemic, violent racism on the US’s psychic and physical landscape. She interweaves shots of rural back roads and urban centers throughout the country, memorializing the sites of Brown’s radicalization alongside those of race riots, police shootings, and other forms of white racial violence and black disenfranchisement over the last 150 years. Set to a score referencing the histories of black music by Jeff Parker, the film resists easy resolution, modeling resistance instead. DCP digital. (Amy Beste)