Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday Muse: 'I Am Not Your Negro'

Film Poster

Novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, and social critic James Baldwin's manuscript for Remember This House, begun in 1979 and still unfinished when Baldwin died in 1987, was to have been the writer's own recollection of the lives and murders of three friends, a trio of men who made their names during America's Civil Rights Movement: Medgar Evers (1925-1963), Malcolm X (1925-1965), and Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968).

Using the 30 completed pages Baldwin left behind*, Haitian filmmaker and director Raoul Peck brings to the screen, beginning February 3, the documentary I Am Not Your Negro (Magnolia Pictures, 2016). Supplementing Baldwin's original words with archival footage, Peck aims to establish the long line from the Civil Rights Era of the 20th Century to the current #BlackLivesMatter movement, and to address lingering questions about being black in America.

Actor Samuel L. Jackson narrates the movie, which was nominated for "Outstanding Documentary Film" at the NAACP Image Awards and, among a number of other honors, was the winner of "Best Documentary/Nonfiction" from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Here's the 93-minute documentary's trailer:

James Baldwin Photo Credit: Magnolia Pictures © BobAdelman

* Baldwin's estate entrusted the manuscript to Peck.

Of Interest

Read film critic Kenneth Turan's review "James Baldwin Is Illuminated, with Dizzying Multimedia Savvy, in 'I Am Not Your Negro'", Los Angeles Times.

American Film Institute 2016 Interview with Raoul Peck

Roger Cohen, "McGraw-Hill Drops Baldwin Suit", The New York Times, May 19, 1990 (The suit was brought to try to recover Baldwin's advance for Remember This House.)

I Am Not Your Negro on FaceBookTwitter, and Instagram

Raoul Peck on FaceBook

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