Wednesday, September 19, 2012
|7:00 p.m.||As Above, So Below and Short Films|
Larry Clark (U.S., 1973)
Leigh Raiford is associate professor of African American Studies at UC Berkeley where her teaching and research interests focus on photography, film, and art of the African Diaspora. She is the author of Imprisoned in a Luminous Glare: Photography and the African American Freedom Struggle.
A rediscovered masterpiece, director Larry Clark’s portrayal of black insurgency in As Above, So Below is a powerful political and social critique. The film opens in 1945 with a young boy playing in his Chicago neighborhood and then follows the adult Jita-Hadi as a returning Marine with heightened political consciousness. It imagines a post-Watts rebellion state of siege and an organized black underground plotting revolution. With sound excerpts from the 1968 HUAC report “Guerrilla Warfare Advocates in the United States,” As Above, So Below is one of the more politically radical films of the L.A. Rebellion.
—Allyson Nadia Field
• Written and photographed by Clark. With Nathaniel Taylor, Lyvonne Walder, Billy Middleton, Gail Peters. (52 mins, Color, 16mm)
(Ben Caldwell, U.S., 1973)
Medea, a collage piece made on an animation stand and edited entirely in the camera, combines live action and rapidly edited still images of Africans and African Americans which function like flashes of history that comprise the inheritance of future generations. Caldwell invokes Amiri Baraka’s poem “Part of the Doctrine” in this experimental meditation on art history, black imagery, identity, and heritage. Allyson Nadia Field (7 mins, Color, DigiBeta transfer from 16mm)
I & I: An African Allegory
(Ben Caldwell, U.S., 1979) New Print!
Director Ben Caldwell designed I & I as a “résumé piece” to showcase his skills in experimental filmmaking, dramatic filmmaking, and documentary. Drawing from Ayi Kwei Armah’s novel Two Thousand Seasons, Caldwell meditates on reciprocity and the concept of “I and I” which postulates no division between people, whereas the splitting of “you” from “I” is an invention of the devil designed to brew trouble in the world. Allyson Nadia Field (32 mins, Color, 16mm, Preservation funded in part by a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation.)
Ujamii Uhuru Schule Community Freedom School
(Don Amis, U.S., 1974)
Ujamii Uhuru Schule (Swahili for Community Freedom School) is the day-in-the-life portrait of an Afrocentric primary learning academy located in South Los Angeles. Focusing on the virtues of the three Rs—Respect, Righteousness and Revolution—the curriculum also teaches the importance of cultural values and self-defense. Shot in high contrast to emulate the color spectrum of the Pan-African flag, Don Amis punctuates the documentary with African chants, syncopated drums, and poignant narration by the school’s faculty. Learn, baby, learn. Tony Best (9 mins, Color, DigiBeta transfer from 16mm)
Total running time: 100 mins