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A curated list of films by and about the Black/African-American diaspora that celebrate Black excellence and joy, that document success, and that document difficult histories.

Through the Black Gaze

The films suggested here, broadly speaking, centralize the Black experience and invite users to the Black Gaze. Through this vantage, viewers gain an unobstructed view of people who are simply living as well as an entry into a form of narrative fiction unencumbered by the complications of the White gaze.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of the Black Gaze, watch or listen to this 38 minute interview with Dr. Tina M. Campt, author of The Black Gaze in Art, for a quick but insightful overview.

Hale County: This Morning, This Evening

Directed by RaMell Ross, Produced by Su Kim, Joslyn Barnes, RaMell Ross, Louverture Films, Idioms Film (New York, NY - Brooklyn: The Cinema Guild, 2018), 1 hour 17 minutes

Awards: 2020 Peabody Award, documentary. See All.

Brief Abstract:

Hale County: This Morning, This Evening is a lyrical innovation to the form of portraiture that boldly ruptures racist aesthetic frameworks that have historically constricted the expression of African American men on film.n the lives of protagonists Daniel and Quincy, quotidian moments and the surrounding southern landscape are given importance, drawing poetic comparisons between historical symbols and the African American banal.

Director RaMell Ross talks about Hale County: This Morning, This Evening on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah


Re-centering the Horror Genre

Burgin, Xavier. Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror. Brooklyn, NY: Icarus Films, 2019.

Watch this film on Docuseek2

1 hour 23 minutes

Awards: Online Film Critics Society Award, 2020 Best Non-Theatrical Release. See all.

Brief Abstract:

Delving into a century of genre films that by turns utilized, caricatured, exploited, sidelined, and finally embraced them, Horror Noire traces a secret history of Black Americans in Hollywood through their connection to the horror genre. Adapting executive producer Robin Means Coleman’s seminal book, Horror Noire will present the living and the dead, using new and archival interviews from scholars and creators; the voices who survived the genre’s past trends, to those shaping its future.

White block text centered on black background framed by broken glass. Glass shards reflect scenes from the film.Get Out. Directed by Jordan Peele.

Watch this film on Swank Digital Campus

1 hour 44 minutes

Awards: 2018 Oscar, Best Original Screenplay. See all.

Brief Abstract:

A young African-American visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness about their reception of him eventually reaches a boiling point.

Re-Centering Narrative Features

A Wrinkle in Time. Directed by Ava DuVernay

1 hour 49 minutes

Watch this film on Swank Digital Campus

Awards: 2019 ReFrame, Feature. See All.

Brief Abstract:

After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.

Cane River. Directed by Horace B. Jenkins. Oscilloscope Laboratories, 1982.

1 hour, 45 minutes

Brief Abstract:

Written, produced, and directed by Emmy Award-winning documentarian, Horace B. Jenkins, and crafted by an entirely African American cast and crew, CANE RIVER is a racially-charged love story in Natchitoches Parish, a "free community of color" in Louisiana. A budding, forbidden romance lays bare the tensions between two black communities, both descended from slaves but of disparate opportunity--the light-skinned, property-owning Creoles and the darker-skinned, more disenfranchised families of the area. This lyrical, visionary film disappeared for decades after Jenkins died suddenly following the film's completion, robbing generations of a talented, vibrant new voice in African American cinema.

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