Words have power. We often affirm that, but we don’t always see how that power unfolds. Don’t Be Nice is a documentary about people who are seeking to speak with power. It follows the Bowery Slam Poetry Team for several months in 2016 as they struggle to prepare for the national championship. The team consists… [Read More]
“Ýou got a lot of words, but you don’t say nothing. You gotta learn to listen before you can see. Listen to this old man here.” A white writer is summoned by a Lakota elder to visit him on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The elder wants him to take his various notes about life and… [Read More]
“Mister, I ain’t a boy, no I’m a man, and I believe in the promised land” (Bruce Springsteen, “The Promised Land”) In Blinded by the Light, Javed (Viveik Kaira), a Pakistani young man growing up in a town outside of London, struggles to find his place in the world. He wants to be a writer,… [Read More]
“Non silba sed anthar (not for self, but for others)” [Ku Klux Klan motto] Based on a true story, Best of Enemies tells the story of Durham, NC, in 1971. When a school for blacks has a fire, the students need to be moved. But where, to a white school? That certainly gets everyone’s attention…. [Read More]
When it is time to award the best in films each year, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences include three categories of short films in their Oscar presentations. Most people don’t get to see many shorts. They play at festivals, and occasionally in front of a feature film. But short films are an… [Read More]
The American Dream is that there are no limits to what someone can be. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [sic] are created equal….” But does science, especially genetics, put that into doubt or even undermine it? A Dangerous Idea: Eugenics, Genetics and the American Dream takes a look at the… [Read More]
The film would be entertaining if all it did was reflect back on that time and see the battle against racism at that time. But the parallels with our own time are so strong that we can’t ignore them.
The first full day for the festival took me on a trip around the world. That’s one of the values of film festivals, we get to see other lands and cultures without the expense and time of travel. (Not that I wouldn’t love being able to go to so many places.)
Can the words of an African-American writer who has been dead for three decades speak to the America of today? I Am Not Your Negro is almost entirely the words of James Baldwin, some from archival TV footage, some in voiceover by Samuel L. Jackson.
When Justice Isn’t Just tries to show a few of the issues around the question of race. However, its forty-two minutes is not nearly enough to truly be effective.