STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS: A Film Series Tribute to the Black Arts Movement


Sunday, Oct 8: Self Determination

Anthony Harvey, 1966, 56 min

Michael Roemer, 1964, 95 min

Two classic film screenings: Dutchman directed by Anthony Harvey and based on the play by Amiri Baraka (as Leroi Jones). Dutchman, highlights racial tensions and taboos. Set in a New York subway, and the ripe civil rights era where one Black mans self determination may not be enough for his own sanity and well being. Nothing But a Man, directed by Michael Roemer, and starring Ivan Dixon and Abby Lincoln, portrays the beauty and perseverance of Black love in the face of discrimination, classism, and the hardships afforded to Black folks in the time. Its authentic cultural relevance sets it in a historically accurate category of its own. A must see. Each film will be followed by a short, moderated discussion led by Greg Bridges (KPFA).

Sunday, Oct 15: Labor of Love (The Roles We Play)

Robert Townsend, 1987, 78 min

Spike Lee, 1986, 84 min

Fast forwarding to the 80's and two profound feats in Black cinema, Standing on the Shoulders continues with a double bill screening of Hollywood Shuffle written/directed by Robert Townsend and She's Gotta Have It written/directed by Spike Lee. Hollywood Shuffle blends a series of satirical shorts and a hilarious pseudo-autobiographical journey through the pitfalls and outrageous surprises that befall a young, brotha (Bobby) in Hollywood with aspirations of honing his craft and making it big as an actor. She's Gotta Have It digs into and challenges the traditional roles that both masculine and feminine play within the dance of dating and sexuality. Set in the peak of Boho Brooklyn the film is a time period piece of the "golden era" and a fresh creative breath of artistic expression which is sure to inspire passionate dialogue. Both films will be followed by a moderated discussion led by Oakland's own Chinaka Hodge.

Sunday, Oct 22: Inspire a Revolution

LAST POETS: RIGHT ON! at 4pm (All poets are encouraged to attend.)
Herbert Danska, 1972, 122 min

Arnold Perl, 1972, 91 min

Standing on the Shoulders facilitates a journey through the minds of some of the most explicit and groundbreaking prose slangers to ever have breathed the living word. The Last Poets indie flick Right On! captures a candid performance on a rooftop somewhere in Harlem, and proceeds to shift the paradigm of Blackness through an urgency of creativity.  Malcolm X is an Oscar-nominated documentary feature that consists almost entirely of Malcolm X's words, either from speeches and interviews, or read from his autobiography (by James Earl Jones, of course), and the personal insight here is tremendously valuable. As it is often the case, that a feature film representation of a non-fictional character is more poetic, more prescient than their real-life counterpart,  here the reverse is true. There is nothing like hearing the real man speak. It's impossible to imagine a more eloquent, passionate, exciting speaker. Every sentence is a perfectly formed, poetically beautiful example of a master orator capturing the hearts and minds of his people, and making a revolution irresistible.