Switzerland/France/USA – Documentary – Year: 2016 – Running time: 93 mins
Rating: (4.66 from 32 responses)
- Excellent’: 25 votes
- ‘Very Good’: 3 votes
- ‘Good’: 4 votes
- ‘Satisfactory’: 0 vote
- ‘Poor’: 0 vote
In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, “Remember This House.” The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only 30 completed pages of this manuscript. Filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished..
A compelling document that works as a mini-history of black racial identity in America from the mid- to late-20th century and beyond.
Stephanie Zackarek (Time Magazine)
Director: Raoul Peck
Murder in Pacot (2014) / Sometimes In April (2005) / Lumumba (2000)
Narration: Samuel L. Jackson
James Baldwin … Himself (Archive footage)
Harry Belafonte … Himself (Archive footage)
Marlon Brando … Himself (Archive footage)
George W. Bush … Himself (Archive footage)
Dick Cavett … Himself (Archive footage)
Ray Charles … Himself (Archive footage)
(for full information, see “I Am Not Your Negro” in IMDB)
CFC Film Notes (click here for printed version)
Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson and with unprecedented access to author and public intellectual James Baldwin’s (Go Tell It On The Mountain, The Fire Next Time) original work, award-winning filmmaker Peck’s (Murder in Pacot, Moloch Tropical, Lumumba) transfixing, revelatory documentary is the cinematic version of the book Baldwin never wrote.
In 1979, when a literary agent asked Baldwin to write about the lives and assassinations of his friends Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Medgar Evers, he responded with a 30-page letter explaining why he couldn’t. This manuscript, entitled Notes Toward Remember This House, was entrusted to peck by the writer’s estate and serves as the backbone of the film. Alongside an exploration of these key Civil Rights figures, Peck gives us a fascinating picture of Baldwin himself, while uncovering the deeper narrative of America’s troubled relationship with race.
In a form as radical as the man that inspired it, Baldwin’s words are juxtaposed with interviews, music, archive footage and images of present-day America to create an overwhelmingly powerful, essayistic mosaic that lays bare the persistent violent and systemic inequality suffered by America’s black population.
The film shows Baldwin refusing to be drawn into the violence/non-violence difference of opinion between King and Malcolm X that mainstream commentators leaped on, and steadily maintaining his own critique. But, as critic Peter Bradshaw noted, maybe Peck’s juxtaposition of Doris Day’s mooning and crooning with a lynch victim is a flourish that approximates Baldwin’s anger but not his elegance. Note the compelling section on Baldwin’s discussion of dramatist Lorraine Hansberry, author of A Raisin in the Sun.
Jordan Hoffman in The Guardian wrote of the film: ‘A cinematic seance… one of the best movies about the Civil Rights era ever made’.
We screen I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO as, due to circumstances beyond CFC’s control, the advertised film Starless Dreams is no longer available for hire. We apologise for this but give thanks to our Secretary, Daden Hunt, for securing I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO at very short notice.
A warm welcome is extended to filmmaker Adam King who has brought two of his very short films for us to watch before the main screening. Adam will be able to answer questions and discuss his work after watching his films.
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