The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
The Gospel According to André
2017, Kate Novack, USA, 94 min.
"Entertaining doc about perhaps the greatest, most gigantic (in every way) fashionista who ever lived." - David Noh, Film Journal International
"The most essential fashion documentary since BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK." - Glenn Dunks, The Film Experience
This all-encompassing portrait of André Leon Talley - formidable potentate in the world of style, right-hand-man to Vogue's Anna Wintour, and longtime protégé of the legendary editor Diana Vreeland - details his struggle as a gay black man scaling the heights in the elite and once all-white sub-culture of international fashion. A flamboyant presence and expansive raconteur, Talley, who was raised by his grandmother in Durham, NC, credits her sense of propriety and the high style of Southern black church-goers in their Sunday best as the influences that profoundly shaped his world view. Earning an advanced degree in French literature at Brown, he got his foot in the door in New York by answering phones at Warhol's Interview magazine and volunteering for Vreeland's Costume Institute at the Met. As his eye for style made him indispensable, Talley used his power to advocate for black models and designers, as testified by the film's interviews with Naomi Campbell, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Tom Ford, Diana Ross, Karl Lagerfeld, Whoopi Goldberg, and more. DCP digital. (BS)
2017, Warwick Thornton, Australia, 113 min. With Hamilton Morris, Bryan Brown, Sam Neill.
"Thornton wrings from this fable of rough frontier justice a statement from the heart. Australia now has its HIGH NOON." - Nick Dent, Time Out New York
"A searing indictment of frontier racism as remarkable for its sonic restraint as its visual expansiveness." - Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times
Revisiting the racial battlefield of classic westerns both American (especially THE SEARCHERS) and Australian (especially THE CHANT OF JIMMIE BLACKSMITH), SWEET COUNTRY is a riveting, fact-based drama of injustice framed against starkly beautiful widescreen landscapes. Based on real events of the 1920s, the story centers on the pursuit and trial of an Aboriginal farmer who kills a white man in self-defense. Indigenous director Thornton (who also photographed the film) uses the incident to draw a non-simplistic but damning spectrum of a racist society, from the virulent World War I veteran who attacks the accused man to an enlightened but ultimately ineffectual preacher (Neill), with many darker shades of gray in between (including a shrewd riff on the John Wayne image by BREAKER MORANT's Bryan Brown). The film's many powerful scenes include a chilling act of violation conveyed by a gradual gathering of darkness, and an outdoor screening of the pioneer 1906 film THE STORY OF THE KELLY GANG, with the crowd cheering on the bad guys. In English and Arrernte with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. (MR)