Tag Archives: Civil Rights Movement

13th: Birth of a Scheme

FROM SLAVE TO CRIMINAL WITH ONE AMENDMENT.  A documentary that uses the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the one that abolished slavery, as a starting point for a discussion of how African-Americans are still subjected to racial injustice in the United States, may look on paper like a concern mainly for what conservatives would call … Continue reading 13th: Birth of a Scheme

Hidden Figures

MEET THE WOMEN YOU DON’T KNOW, BEHIND THE MISSION YOU DO.  In 1961, while the Americans try to catch up with the Russians in the space race, three black women (Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe) make great strides at segregated NASA. Indie filmmaker Theodor Melfi, who made St. Vincent (2014), delivered something decidedly … Continue reading Hidden Figures

Malcolm X: How Little Became Huge

At first, Norman Jewison was considered as director of a movie chronicling the life of Malcolm X. After all, he had done a great job on In the Heat of the Night (1967), a film that took on the racial conflicts of that period in America. Jewison was interested in the project, but there was … Continue reading Malcolm X: How Little Became Huge

What Happened, Miss Simone?

HER STORY. HER VOICE. The Bobby Fischer Against the World (2011) director takes on another troubled celebrity and cultural phenomenon in this lauded documentary. Made in collaboration with Nina Simone’s family, the film celebrates the artist’s musical talents but doesn’t avoid her dark sides, including the abusive marriage, her bipolar disorder and how she treated … Continue reading What Happened, Miss Simone?

All the Way

POLITICS IS WAR. Shortly after swearing the oath in November 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson (Bryan Cranston) begins the struggle to get the Civil Rights Act passed, trying to please both Dixiecrats and African-American voters. Recount and Game Change director Jay Roach was the right person to bring the successful play to television. In spite … Continue reading All the Way

4 Little Girls: The Blast That Changed History

BIRMINGHAM, 1963. A SINGLE EXPLOSION ROCKED A COMMUNITY AND AWAKENED A SLEEPING NATION. When Condoleezza Rice was eight years old, on a September Sunday in 1963, she felt an explosion a few blocks away from her father’s church. The African-American 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama had just been bombed by white supremacists and … Continue reading 4 Little Girls: The Blast That Changed History

Suffragette

MOTHERS. DAUGHTERS. REBELS. One day in 1912, East End laundress Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) accidentally finds herself in a suffragette riot and becomes drawn into an increasingly more violent struggle for women’s rights. After portraying a Conservative icon in The Iron Lady (2011), writer Abi Morgan took on the suffragette movement and showed the consequences … Continue reading Suffragette

10 Hollywood Icons and Their Political Awakening

A few days ago, I finished Steven J. Ross’s book “Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics”, where the writer has profiled the political careers of ten liberal and conservative Hollywood figures. He chose his subjects well, because they differ a lot from each other. Some of them were movement politicians, meaning they … Continue reading 10 Hollywood Icons and Their Political Awakening

Mississippi Burning: Death by Cop

1964. WHEN AMERICA WAS AT WAR WITH ITSELF. There are many heinous cases that must have compelled federal authorities to finally back comprehensive civil-rights legislation that specifically targeted the South. One of the worst is the disappearance of three civil-rights workers, two white and one black, in Mississippi in 1964 who were later found murdered. … Continue reading Mississippi Burning: Death by Cop

Selma: Battle on a Bridge

ONE DREAM CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. When Ava DuVernay was hired to direct this movie, which would become an explosive breakthrough for her after a few independent films, she focused on Martin Luther King’s speeches. She didn’t have the right to use them in Selma because the King estate had licensed the copyright to DreamWorks … Continue reading Selma: Battle on a Bridge

Free Angela and All Political Prisoners

YOU KNOW HER NAME. KNOW HER STORY.   This documentary, which can be seen as an equally compelling companion piece to The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975 (2011), focuses on Angela Davis, the university professor who was fired from the UCLA in 1969 for being a Communist and who became engaged in the Black Panther cause, … Continue reading Free Angela and All Political Prisoners

The Help

CHANGE BEGINS WITH A WHISPER.    In early 1960s Mississippi, young “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone) wants to be a writer and secretly starts interviewing black maids to find out what their lives are like in the segregated South. Tate Taylor was friends with author Kathryn Stockett, secured the rights to her novel and had a … Continue reading The Help

Lee Daniels’ The Butler

ONE QUIET VOICE CAN IGNITE A REVOLUTION.  A brisk walk through American history and the civil rights movement in particular, as we follow a black man (Forest Whitaker) who serves seven presidents in the White House from Eisenhower to Reagan. How is the cause best served is the most important question asked in the film. … Continue reading Lee Daniels’ The Butler