The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
O.J.: Made in America
2016, Ezra Edelman, USA, 468 min.
"Staggering...has the grandeur and authority of the best long-form nonfiction. If it were a book, it could sit on the shelf alongside 'The Executioner's Song' by Norman Mailer and the great biographical works of Robert Caro." — A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"Nothing short of a towering achievement...After all the media coverage, the books, the outrage, the documentaries, the miniseries — after so much sturm-und-drang, this story has at last been perfectly captured and perfectly told." — Hank Stuever, Washington Post
This critically acclaimed, compulsively watchable portrait of the sports hero/murder defendant is considered a front-runner for this year’s best documentary Oscar. It not only provides an in-depth examination of Simpson’s roots, career, and personality, but also connects them to larger social and cultural issues including jock culture, celebrity culture, gender bias, domestic violence, police violence, and, above all, race. Simpson is carefully and convincingly painted as a complex, paradoxical figure, who gained fame by isolating himself from his own race (“I’m not black, I’m O.J.”), then ironically became the standard-bearer for millions of African Americans frustrated by centuries of injustice, culminating (but by no means ending) with the Rodney King verdict in 1991. A character study as contradictory and mulifaceted as CITIZEN KANE, the film draws upon skillfully curated archival material and compelling new interviews with those who were dazzled, baffled, and disillusioned by Simpson, including childhood friends, policemen, journalists, black community leaders, and members of the defense, prosecution, and jury. This uncut theatrical version of the film is a uniquely riveting experience — as director Edelman has said, "I set out to tell one big story...I wish everybody would watch this as a seven-and-a-half hour movie." The film has just been nominated for five Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards (BFCA). Note: Part 2 contains images of graphic violence. DCP digital. (MR)
Tear the Roof Off: The Untold Story of Parliament Funkadelic
2016, Bobby J. Brown, USA, 58 min.
Filmmaker Brown takes us way behind the scenes historically in this revealing profile of the revolutionary dance-party funk band Parliament Funkadelic, including a hard look at its controversial and autocratic leader George Clinton. From doo-wop roots to the Mothership Connection tour and the eventual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, the music and the over-the-top costumes put the fun in funk. The stories of high life and wild ways are de rigueur for the rock scene, but the meat of this tale is an unraveling saga of Clinton’s ruthless manipulation and exploitation of band members, leaving some of his original collaborators bewildered and betrayed. DCP digital. (BS)