Thursday, November 3, 2011

Neglected history brought to light

During the height of the Black Power movement in the U.S., a variety of Swedish journalists and filmmakers made it their business to interview many of the movement's major figures. This previously unseen footage -- at least in the U.S. -- has been assembled by Swedish director Goran Hugo Olsson into a documentary aptly titled Black Power Mixtape, 1967-1975. And, yes, there's plenty of interest here. An example: Watching Stokley Carmichael take over for a reporter to conduct a concise and pointed interview with his mother. Also on hand are Angela Davis, Eldrige Cleaver Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. Olsson tries (with mixed results) to provide context with voice-over interviews from contemporary figures such as rapper Questlove, singer Erykah Badu and others, but the footage that Olsson has unearthed makes Black Power Mixtape an invaluable addition to the cinematic canon about a volatile and perhaps neglected period in recent American history.

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