February 16th, 2018 sees the release of Black Panther, the first Marvel superhero movie with a black director, Black Panther. In March, Selma director Ava DuVernay's adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time becomes the first live-action, $100 million budget film directed by a woman of color. At 2018's Academy Awards, Get Out is nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Its director, Jordan Peele, became the fifth African-American to receive a Best Director nomination. The southern period drama Mudbound, written and directed by Dee Rees, also has garnered multiple nominations this awards season. We are nearly one year removed from Moonlight winning the Academy Award for Best Picture. In observance of Black History Month, top New York Times film critics have complied a list of films that highlight the overall history of black Americans in cinema. While looking to the future, 28 Days, 28 Films celebrates the journey so far. Explore these celebrated films, available via the Film & Video Collection, below.
In this early silent film from pioneering director Oscar Micheaux, kindly Sylvia Landry takes a fundraising trip to Boston in hopes of collecting 5,000 dollars to keep a Southern school for impoverished black children open to the public. She then meets the warmhearted Dr. Vivian, who falls in love with Sylvia and travels with her back to the South. There, Dr. Vivian learns about Sylvia's shocking, tragic past and realizes that racism has changed her life forever.
Bill, a struggling performer, meets a beautiful vocalist named Selina. Bill promises her that they will be together after he becomes a success. However, he and Selina both skyrocket to fame and lose contact. Fortunately, Bill just might get one more chance to woo Selina at a huge musical stage show. Popular entertainers of the 1940s, including Fats Waller and Cab Calloway, perform as themselves in the film.
In his one-of-a-kind fiction/documentary hybrid Symbiopsychotaxiplasm, director William Greaves presides over a beleaguered film crew in New York's Central Park, leaving them to try to figure out what kind of movie they're making. A couple enacts a break-up scenario over and over, a documentary crew films a crew filming the crew, locals wander casually into the frame: the project defies easy description. Yet this wildly innovative sixties counterculture landmark remains one of the most tightly focused and insightful movies ever made about making movies.
Written and directed by Reginald Hudlin and based on his award-winning Harvard University student film, this cult classic features 80s hip-hop duo Kid 'N Play planning the house party to end all house parties.
DVD on order.
John Cassavetes' directorial debut revolves around a romance in New York City between Lelia, a light- skinned black woman, and Tony, a white man. The relationship is put in jeopardy when Tony meets Lelia's darker-skinned jazz singer brother, and discovers that her racial heritage is not what he thought it was. A penetrating work that is widely considered the forerunner of the American independent film movement.
Two convicts escaping from a Southern work gang discover that they are bound together by an unbreakable iron chain and separated by a hatred for each other. In order to elude capture they must overcome their hostility.
Live film coverage of a successful hospital workers' strike in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1969. Shows the crucial help of Rev. Ralph Abernathy and Coretta Scott King in organizing demonstrations in support of the workers, mostly black women. Includes interviews with city officials and strikers.
Two zany drifters are mistakenly sent to prison for a robbery they didn't commit. They must rely on their wits in order to survive a sadistic warden, a hulking mass-murderer and worst of all, the inter-prison rodeo.
Cheryl, a young black woman in a video store, is making a documentary about an obscure black actress from the 1930's. When she discovers that the actress (known as "the Watermelon Woman") had a white lesbian lover, Cheryl just happens to fall in love with a very cute white woman herself!
Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins is a decorated war hero who returns home to work as a private eye. His job of finding a missing socialite puts him between the white power elite and the vibrant black community of Central Avenue. As soon as Easy and his trigger-happy friend Mouse find Daphne Monet, trouble follows.
Divided into vignettes, this film turns on the Devil — a masked figure with horns and a cape — driving a train teeming with wickedness. Each train car reveals another sin. Nearly everyone here may be headed straight to hell, but most look as if they’re having a swell time getting there.
The story of a marriage of two remarkable people, both at a crossroads in their lives. Sara, a black professor of philosophy, is embarking on an intellectual quest to understand 'ecstasy' just as her painter husband Victor sets off on a more earthly exploration of joy.
A statuesque and charismatic woman is trying to figure out what she wants in life. She has a good job as a commercial artist and designer, a spacious Brooklyn apartment, and three boyfriends. Each of them is far from her ideal man, but each fulfills a different need for her.