The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
La noire de…
1965, Ousmane Sembene, Senegal, 65 min. With Mbissine Thérèse Diop.
★★★★ "A complex and passionate intelligence is shaping the meaning in every scene...There are few endings in all of cinema as powerful and rich as this." — Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"A masterpiece...One of those works of art that is at once powerfully of its moment and permanently contemporary." — A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Sembene's first feature made a profound impression at several international film festivals in 1966; the evolution of African cinema can be dated from that point. Filmed in a fresh, freewheeling style reminiscent of the early New Wave, it tells a direct, bitter story of exile and despair that never loses sight of its central theme: the myth of decolonization. The heroine, Diouana (Diop), is a Senegalese maid taken to the Riviera by her employers. It is only when she is out of Africa that she realizes what being an African now means: it means being a thing, no longer Diouana but "the black girl belonging to..." New 4K DCP digital restoration. In French with English subtitles. (MR)
Chapter & Verse
2015, Jamal Joseph, USA, 97 min. With Daniel Beaty, Loretta Devine.
Newly released from prison, Lance (co-screenwriter Beaty) faces down racism, indifference, and the economic lure of the old life in Harlem, in this poignant drama in which personal redemption and the urge to mentor a young gang-banger go hand in hand. Director Joseph builds a case for the power of black fatherhood as the parolee, working on delivery for a food pantry, comes to the aid of feisty but failing Miss Mandy (Devine in an exceptionally moving performance), and recognizes his younger self in her defiantly cocky grandson Ty, eager to take on the violent initiation ritual of the local street gang. DCP digital. (BS)