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L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema

Tuesday, October 30, 2012
7:00 p.m. Child of Resistance and Short Films
Haile Gerima (U.S., 1972)

Inspired by a dream director Haile Gerima had after seeing Angela Davis handcuffed on television, Child of Resistance follows a woman (Barbara O. Jones) who has been imprisoned as a result of her fight for social justice. In a film that challenges linear norms of time and space, Gerima explores the woman’s dreams for liberation and fears for her people through a series of abstractly rendered fantasies.

—Allyson Nadia Field

• (36 mins, Color/B&W, 16mm)

Followed by:
Brick by Brick
(Shirikiana Aina, U.S., 1982)

Brick by Brick documents a late-1970s Washington, D.C., ignored by the media, from which poor black residents are being pushed out. Images of monuments contrast with prescient images of gentrification and homelessness. An alternative is provided by the Seaton Street project, in which tenants united to purchase buildings. Participants discuss their effort as part of a worldwide struggle against displacement. Kevin McMahon (33 mins, Color, DigiBeta transfer from 16mm)

L.A. in My Mind
(O. Funmilayo Makarah, U.S., 2006)

A captivating montage of notable Los Angeles sites, laced with free-floating names of places and people and accompanied by street noises, becomes a delightful and personal canon of spiritually sustaining quantities. Shannon Kelley (4 mins, Color, DigiBeta)

Dawn at My Back: Memoir of a Black Texas Upbringing (excerpt)
(Carroll Parrott Blue, Kristy H. A. Kang, The Labyrinth Project, U.S., 2003)

This evocative excerpt from the Labyrinth Project’s DVD-ROM, based on a memoir by Carroll Parrot Blue, leads viewers on a rich visual and textual exploration of Blue’s family history, and of the history of Houston’s black community. Using her great-grandmother’s quilt as an interface, Blue and codirector Kristy H. A. Kang create plateaus of historical and narrative interest in a series of visual “panscapes,” constructed from original photographs, video, archival materials, and the spoken word. Winner of the 2004 Sundance Online Film Festival Jury Award in New Forms. (10 mins, Color, DigiBeta adapted from DVD-ROM)

(Melvonna Ballenger, U.S., 1978)

Rain shows how awareness can lead to a more fulfilling life. A female typist goes from apathetic to empowered through the help of a man giving out political fliers on the street. Using John Coltrane’s song “After the Rain,” Ballenger’s narration meditates on rainy days and their impact. The rain in this short film doesn’t signify defeat, but offers renewal and “a chance to recollect, a cool out.”—Trisha Lendo (16 mins, B&W, DigiBeta transfer from ¾" Video)

Total running time: 83 mins