Friday, February 17, 2012

Spotlight: African Americans in Film

In our continuing celebration of African American History month, we've selected films and documentaries at Carnegie-Stout Public Library that feature African American actors, as well as films that were written, directed or produced by African Americans.

Feature films

A Soldier's Story (1984) -In the racially-divided 1940s, Fort Neal, Louisiana, is a military base where black soldiers are sent not to fight in WWII but to play baseball against other armed forces teams. The murder of a black sergeant, Waters (Adolph Caesar) brings an investigator, Captain Davenport (Howard E. Rollins, Jr.) to the base. Davenport, the first black officer that most of the men have ever met, suspects that a pair of white men were responsible for Waters' death, but his probe reveals that nearly everyone, regardless of skin color, had ample reason to kill the loathsome but pitiable Waters. The film was nominated for three Oscars: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Caesar) and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Do The Right Thing (1989) - On the hottest day of the year, simmering racial tensions in a Brooklyn neighborhood of between the frustrated black locals, the new Korean grocery and the established Sal's Pizzeria. Written and directed by Spike Lee, the film went on to earn Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Danny Aiello) and Best Screenplay. In 2007, the film was listed as the 96th greatest American Movie in Film History by the American Film Institute.

Secret Life of Bees (2008) - Set in South Carolina in 1964, this is the tale of Lily Owens a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother. To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father, Lily flees with Rosaleen, her caregiver and only friend, to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by the intelligent and independent Boatwright sisters, Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world of beekeeping. Based on the 2002 novel by Sue Monk Kidd.

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The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 - The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 mobilizes a treasure trove of 16mm material shot by Swedish journalists who came to the US drawn by stories of urban unrest and revolution. Gaining access to many of the leaders of the Black Power Movement—Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis and Eldridge Cleaver among them—the filmmakers captured them in intimate moments and remarkably unguarded interviews.

Hoop Dreams - Two ordinary inner-city kids dare to dream the impossible - professional basketball glory - in this epic chronicle of hope and faith. Filmed over a five-year period, Hoop Dreams follows young Arthur Agee and William Gates as they navigate the complex, competitive world of scholastic athletics while striving to overcome the intense pressures of family life and the realities of their Chicago streets.

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