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Thursday, February 25
HIB 100

In Celebration of Black History Month/

(dir. David Appleby, Allison Graham and Steven John Ross, 1993, 58 minutes)

(dir. Isaac Julien, 2002, 56 minutes)

Screening: 7:00 p.m.
Introduced by FVC Director


AT THE RIVER I STAND is a riveting documentary revisitation of the last days in the life and political work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., during which he lent his support to sanitation workers who were striking against the Memphis city government.  Incorporating rare 1968 footage of street protests and speeches by African-American leaders, as well as present-day interviews with close associates of Dr. King, city council members, community organizers, and the workers who looked to AFSCME for help in remedying deplorable working conditions, this film offers a more nuanced, bittersweet view of the shifting stakes and strategies attached to the civil rights movement after the Voting Rights Act was introduced in 1965 - and the struggle began to bring issues of class, in close tandem with race, into the foreground of local urban politics, yet increasingly out of sight with respect to the national media radar.  Winner of the 1994 Erik Barnouw Award for Best Documentary, Organization of American Historians.


Featuring testimonies of actors and directors (Pam Grier, Fred Williamson, Melvin Van Peebles), as well as avid fans (such as Quentin Tarantin, Samuel L. Jackson), historians (Ed Guerrero) and critics (Bell Hooks) of the film cycle known as blaxploitation, BAAD ASSSSS CINEMA places the cycle in reasoned, historical perspective while bringing to light the cultural politics surrounding its controversial and marginal status with respect to both the Hollywood industry and African-American political organizations.   Enough original - and rare - footage from original films (both canonized and nearly forgotten) to whet the appetite of blaxploitation fans and also prompt parental guidance, as some clips may include full-body nudity and graphic violence.   Entertainment Weekly rated it "Grade A," characterizing it as "Serious and funny, this is a marvelous history of a genre."  An Official Selection of the Toronto Film Festival.

ISAAC JULIEN, who directed BAAD ASSSSS CINEMA, lives and works in London.  He founded the Sankofa Film and Video Collective (1983-1992), known for its experimental explorations of Black British identity, and was a founding member of Normal Films in 1991. In 2001,  Mr. Julien was nominated for the Turner Prize for his films THE LONG ROAD TO MAZATLÁN (1999) made in collaboration with Javier de Frutos and VAGABONDIA (2000), choreographed by Javier de Frutos.  His earlier films include FRANTZ FANON: BLACK SKIN, WHITE MASK (1996) and YOUNG SOUL REBELS (1991), which was awarded the Semaine de la critique prize at Cannes that same year.

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