I spent part of my weekend watching screeners for films that are included in this upcoming, awesome series, presented by The Film Society of Lincoln Center (NYC), titled “Tell It Like It Is: Black Independents in New York, 1968–1986” – from the opener, Kathleen Collins’ stately 1982 feature “Losing Ground” (read my review of the film here); to Ayoka Chenzira’s humorous, though inciting short “black hair” travelogue, “Hair Piece A Film for Nappy-Headed People;” Camille Billops’ devastating documentary on a young black woman’s struggles to come to terms with her physically abusive father (dead at the time of the making of the film) as well as a mother, abused herself, unable to protect her children in 1982’s “Suzanne Suzanne,” and more.
I plan to go through the entire series before this Friday’s launch – a series programmed by Michelle Materre and Film Society of Lincoln Center Programmer at Large Jake Perlin, co-presented by Creatively Speaking.
Tickets for this must-attend series of rare screenings, are currently on sale, by the way! Click here to purchase.
Other titles included in the program, which some of you would be familiar with, include Bill Gunn’s seminal “Ganja & Hess” (a film that Spike Lee *reinterpreted* in his latest work, “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus”); William Greaves’ instructive “Symbiopsychotaxiplasm;” another Bill Gunn film, “Personal Problems” (which came after “Ganja”), the work of cinéma-vérité, capturing a middle class black family in crisis; St Clair Bourne’s intimate documentary capturing Amiri Baraka’s trial and conviction for “resisting arrest” despite allegations of police harassment, in “In Motion: Amiri Baraka;” and much, much, much more.
Of course, given the period and city covered, the early work of Spike Lee is well represented, with “Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads” and “She’s Gotta Have It,” both scheduled to screen.
It’s quite exhaustive, so I strongly encourage you to take full advantage, because you may never get another opportunity quite like this again, or anytime soon, after this run ends. Check out the full lineup here.
I’ll be publishing write-ups on a few of the films, on this blog, throughout the week, so look out for those.
In the meantime, here’s a just-released trailer for the series: