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Angela Davis speaks out about the Black Power movement in compelling documentary that kicks off IFC Center Summer of Resistance series

Angela Davis speaks out about the Black Power movement in compelling documentary that kicks off IFC Center Summer of Resistance series

THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 (Göran Hugo Olsson, 2011)
IFC Center
323 Sixth Ave. at Third St.
Monday, May 8, 8:00

From 1967 to 1975, a group of more than two dozen Swedish journalists came to America to document the civil rights movement. More than thirty years later, director and cinematographer Göran Hugo Olsson discovered hours and hours of unused 16mm footage — the material was turned into a program shown only once in Sweden and seen nowhere else — and developed it into The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, a remarkable visual and aural collage that focuses on the Black Panthers and the Black Power movement, a critical part of American history that has been swept under the rug. Olsson and Hanna Lejonqvist have seamlessly edited together startlingly intimate footage of such seminal figures as Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, Huey P. Newton, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Stokely Carmichael, including a wonderfully personal scene in which Carmichael interviews his mother on her couch. But the star of the film is the controversial political activist Angela Davis, who allowed the journalists remarkable access, particularly in a jailhouse interview shot in color. (Most of the footage is in black-and-white.) Davis also adds contemporary audio commentary, sharing poignant insight about that tumultuous period, along with Abiodun Oyewole of the Last Poets, singer Erykah Badu, professor, poet, and playwright Sonia Sanchez, Roots drummer Ahmir Questlove Thompson (who also composed the film’s score with Om’Mas Keith), and rapper Talib Kweli, who discusses specific scenes in the film with a thoughtful grace and intelligence. The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 is an extraordinary look back at a crucial moment in time that has long been misunderstood, if not completely forgotten, and has taken on new relevance with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. The film kicks off the IFC Center series “Queer/Art/Film: Summer of Resistance” on May 8 at 8:00 and will be followed by a discussion with fierce pussy, the New York City-based queer women artists collective. The monthly series, in which activists and political collectives select films to screen and discuss, continues on June 26 with Deborah Esquenazi’s Salem: the Story of the San Antonio Four, chosen by F2L, July 24 with Susana Aikin and Carlos Aparicio’s The Salt Mines & The Transformation, with Bianey Garcia, and August 14 with Niazi Mostafa’s A Glass and a Cigarette, with Tarab NYC.

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