The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
Minding The Gap
2018, Bing Liu, USA, 93 min.
- Fri, Aug 31st 8:00pm
- Sat, Sep 1st 7:45pm
- Sun, Sep 2nd 5:15pm
- Mon, Sep 3rd 3:00pm
- Tue, Sep 4th 7:45pm
- Wed, Sep 5th 6:00pm
- Thu, Sep 6th 8:30pm
- Fri, Sep 7th 2:00pm
- Fri, Sep 7th 8:15pm
- Sat, Sep 8th 8:00pm
- Sun, Sep 9th 5:00pm
- Mon, Sep 10th 6:00pm
- Tue, Sep 11th 8:15pm
- Wed, Sep 12th 6:00pm
- Thu, Sep 13th 8:15pm
"Masterful, momentous...There are few perfect films and fewer that are pure." - Ray Pride, Newcity
"A tour de force of documentary filmmaking...This is modern day John Cassavetes with tattoos and punk music." - John Fink, The Film Stage
Three boys, Zack, Keire, and Bing, come of age on the wrong side of the tracks in Rockford, Illinois, sharing experiences and secrets, but also seeking to forget the bad things that happen at home behind closed doors. Over a period of years, self-taught filmmaker Bing's deft and fluid camera tracks their hours of freedom at the skating park, shares their confidences, and creates a chronicle that addresses with remarkable intimacy the soaring exhilaration of being alive. The boys become young adults before our eyes, struggling with the bewildering new demands of manhood. Zack becomes a father, Keire loses his, and Bing begins to come to terms with the past. DCP digital. (BS)
Thomasine and Bushrod
1974, Gordon Parks Jr., USA, 95 min. With Max Julien, Vonetta McGee.
- Fri, Sep 21st 3:45pm
- Tue, Sep 25th 6:00pm
"Negroes don't do that. Negroes sing and dance and steal chickens. They don't rob banks." So says an astonished white bystander in this nearly forgotten memento of the outlaw spirit that infiltrated American cinema in the post-BONNIE AND CLYDE era. Actor-writer Julien (THE MACK) and director Parks (SUPER FLY) brought a blaxploitation background to this revisionist western that upsets racial and gender stereotypes as well as genre conventions. Automobiles replace horses in 1911 Texas, where bounty hunter Thomasine (McGee) and outlaw Bushrod (Julien) join forces to pull off a series of daring bank robberies while eluding the rabidly vengeful Sheriff Bogardie (George Murdock). Glynn Turman's colorful turn as a jive-talking Jamaican gunslinger adds to the film's freewheeling pastiche of genres and eras. 35mm archival print. (MR)
I Am Not A Witch
2017, Rungano Nyoni, UK/France/Germany, 93 min. With Margaret Mulubwa, Henry B.J. Phiri.
- Fri, Sep 28th 4:15pm
- Fri, Sep 28th 6:15pm
- Sat, Sep 29th 7:45pm
- Sun, Sep 30th 3:00pm
- Tue, Oct 2nd 6:00pm
- Wed, Oct 3rd 8:15pm
- Thu, Oct 4th 8:15pm
"One of the obvious breakouts of the year: exactly the kind of young work - brash, committed, and narratively unpredictable - that film festivals are supposed to champion." - Steve Macfarlane, Slant
"Beautiful and strange…it's rare and exhilarating that a new filmmaker arrives on the scene so sure of herself and so willing to take bold, counter-intuitive chances." - Jessica Kiang, Variety
A mute little orphan girl with wise knowing eyes wanders into a Zambian village and is declared a witch by frightened locals. She is quickly cast in the dual roles of scapegoat and magic charm in this entrancing tale based in part on African superstition and mythology. Nine-year-old Shula (Mulubwa) is sent to a witch camp, where abandoned older women accused of dabbling in the supernatural are forced to live a sideshow life, on display to tourists and tethered by long streamers meant to keep them from flying away or from changing into goats. In a biting satire on patriarchy, first-time feature director Nyoni blends misogynist folk traditions into a magic realist fantasy filled with humor, haunting imagery, and irony, as the child is dressed and painted in a fanciful costume and exploited by a corrupt official who rents her out to cast spells for cash. In English, Bemba, and Nyanja with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. (BS)
Daughters of the Dust
1991, Julie Dash, USA, 112 min. With Alva Rogers, Bahni Turpin.
- Sat, Sep 29th 3:00pm
- Tue, Oct 2nd 6:00pm
"Distinctive, original…every image, every moment is a full creation…Dash is one of the heroines of the modern cinema." - Richard Brody, New Yorker
A work of breathtaking beauty and haunting cultural resonance, this landmark independent production was the first film by an African American woman to receive theatrical distribution in the U.S. On a summer day in 1902, a large African American family descended from slaves gathers for one last picnic in their Sea Island home on the eve of their move North. The knowledge and mystical traditions of the clan's West African heritage are manifest in the women of the family, from the matriarch Nana to the unborn baby girl in her granddaughter's womb, as the family confronts the conflicts and challenges of a new century. In English and Gullah dialect with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
Steffani Jemison: Sensus Plenior
2008-18, Steffani Jemison, USA, ca. 60 min.
- Thu, Oct 4th 6:00pm
Steffani Jemison's multimedia projects draw upon Black vernacular culture to produce new modes of expression and models for community. She presents a selection of audio works alongside her latest video, SENSUS PLENIOR (2017). Latin for "fuller meaning," SENSUS PLENIOR (2017) explores language and gesture through the ecstatic choreography of ordained minister Susan Webb and the Master Mime Ministry of Harlem. Jemison explores similar themes in the ongoing music and performance series RECITATIF, which uses Solresol, a utopian 19th-century musical language, to reinterpret Black popular and political music. Through Solresol's unique structure, Jemison forges alternative ways for understanding history, culture, and everyday life. Multiple formats. (Amy Beste)
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)
Ganja & Hess
1973, Bill Gunn, USA, 112 min. With Duane Jones, Marlene Clark.
"Certainly the most original and intellectually ambitious of all blaxploitation films of the 70s." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Bill Gunn's epochal indie lulu...so elusive and bloody and challenging a picture that it's every bit as overwhelming now as it must have been when it won the critics' prize at Cannes in '73." - Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
Considered a milestone of both the blaxploitation and vampire genres but too contrary to nest comfortably under either label, GANJA AND HESS (which never uses the word "vampire") was acclaimed at Cannes, then butchered and badly distributed before finally emerging as a revered cult classic. Elegant anthropology professor Dr. Hess Green (Jones of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) is infected with a blood-hunger curse through an ancient African dagger wielded by his assistant (Gunn), who soon commits suicide. The assistant's assertive wife Ganja (Clark) shows up, initiates a passionate affair with Hess, and joins him in blood-drinking bliss until his religious awakening comes between them. Characteristically for Gunn, the plot accounts for only a fraction of the film's rich tapestry. Shifting gears every few minutes and packed with disturbing and provocative images, GANJA AND HESS is a disorienting and haunting experience. Spike Lee's 2015 remake DA SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS only enhanced critics' memories of the more potent original, and this new 4K restoration follows decades of truncated versions and fuzzy transfers. New 4K DCP digital restoration. (MR)