The latest Essential Cinema Series from the Austin Film Society, comes to us Tuesday, October 16. This month’s series is “Torn From the Motherland: Films from the African Diaspora.” It all kicks off with Charles Burnett’s My Brother’s Wedding on October 16 and wraps up on November 20 with the documentary double-feature of Marlon Riggs’ Black Is, Black Ain’t and Isaac Julien’s Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask. All of the screenings start at 7 p.m. and will be held at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. In the program notes, UT film professor (and my T.A. back when I took an “African Cinema” class) Olivier Tchouaffe writes:
The Austin Film Society “African Diaspora” film retrospective is a powerful opportunity to appreciate Pan-Africanist creativity under the cold realities of slavery, imperialism, colonization and neo-colonialism and its universalistic ramifications. It provides a unique vision and aesthetics on the cultural agency of people of African descent bypassing geographic and linguistic boundaries for the purpose of tackling fundamental issues of race, identity, violence, memory and belonging. The results are models for considering universal human conditions because the protagonists of these diasporic narratives are confronting the trials and experiences of displacement which do not apply solely to Africans.
This cinema, therefore, must be situated in the glare of people struggling for human rights, self-knowledge, self-responsibility, self-respect and dignity under unique forms of pressures such as slavery, genocidal dictatorships and others processes of forced deterritorialization.