Though it’s the major feature films that naturally get
the most attention, the L.A. Rebellion
film series, which has been touring across the county (and currently in Chicago until early June), also features many shorts films made by black UCLA film students during the L.A.
Rebellion phase, which are either being
shown with features or in a collection of short film programs.
However, one of the most striking and defiantly political
is Bernard Nicolas’ 1977 short film, Daydream Therapy, made as one of his
first student projects at UCLA.
In a concise nine minutes, Therapy tells the story of a
put-upon black female office custodian, who also works as a house maid for her
piggish boss, who also crudely sexuality harasses her in his home. The only means
of escape are her daydreams, which eventually lead to her political self-realization.
It’s a film that reflects the revolutionary activist fervor
of the time, with an uncompromising power and directness.
The film is even more striking with Nicolas’ use of Nina
Simone’s dramatic and powerful rendition of Kurt Weill’s song, Pirate Jenny, from his 1928 musical Die
Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera) which is about a maid who imagines exacting
revenge on the cruel people in the town she lives.
And Daydream Therapy is appropriately attached to Haile Gerima’s film Bush Mama, his feature film about a
black woman’s political awakening, and both films will be screened this Thursday
at the L.A. Rebellion Film Series, Chicago screenings, which you can read about