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I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

Samuel L. JacksonJames BaldwinMartin Luther KingMalcolm X
Raoul Peck


I Am Not Your Negro (2016) is a English,French movie. Raoul Peck has directed this movie. Samuel L. Jackson,James Baldwin,Martin Luther King,Malcolm X are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2016. I Am Not Your Negro (2016) is considered one of the best Documentary,History movie in India and around the world.

In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, "Remember This House." The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin's death in 1987, he left behind only 30 completed pages of this manuscript. Filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished.


I Am Not Your Negro (2016) Reviews

  • In Every Way That Matters...


    There are so many ways to feel and experience and comment on this film. AS A WRITER: For lovers of language, phrasing, and meaning, hearing James Baldwin's writings and seeing him speak is enough to spark the highest praise alone. His capacity for observational conclusion and his use of language to transmit these conclusions is extraordinary. In this, he is one of the finest chroniclers of the American condition, not just one of the finest African American chroniclers. If you don't believe that going into this movie, you will when you come out of it. Spending close to two hours listening to the man's work is an utterly intoxicating experience. In this regard the film is extraordinary. AS A FILM LOVER: We know that James Baldwin was a cinephile and one of the great film critics in American history. He wrote extensively about cinema and a large part of this film consists of clips from Hollywood's rough history of reducing or falsifying the black American experience, often with Baldwin's own criticisms laid on top of them, weighing the clips down, eviscerating them. There are hard juxtapositions here as well, such as the innocence of Doris Day pressed up against the reality of lynched black men and women swaying in trees. By contextualizing these images in new and fresh ways the film is able to paint an impressionistic portrait of American denial. And despite a small handful of shots that don't entirely synergistically ring with the Baldwin text (I'm thinking of a few clips – by no means all - that the filmmaker himself shot), there are enough times when the words being spoken and the images being shown are so surprising and spot on as to be true, high, art. In this regard, the film is extraordinary. AS A HUMAN BEING: The greatest moral failing of this nation is not its imperialism, not its militarism, not its materialism or escapism or consumerism, – though the film makes a strong case that all these things are tangled together – America's greatest moral failing is its racism. And the scalpel procession with which this movie uses Baldwin's words and character to autopsy this vast cultural sin is inspiring. Baldwin himself was never a racist, though God knows, I wouldn't blame him if he had been. Baldwin was never a classist or a nationalist or a demagogue of any sort. Baldwin was a man. He demanded that he be perceived as a man and that black America be perceived as people, with all the dignity and rights that affords. He looked America in the eye and asked a simple question, why do you NEED to dehumanize me? And he followed the question up with a statement, as long as you dehumanize me, America can never succeed. It was not a threat. It was another of his observational truths, the idea that our racism undoes us, keeps us from being great. In the way "I'm Not Your Negro" illuminates Baldwin's call for a higher humanist agenda, the film is extraordinary. AS AN ACTIVIST: The film implies that the most horrifying thing you can do to a movement is to kill its leaders. Not just because you deny dignity and rights to the people who look to those leaders for hope, but you also impact the movement for generations. The natural order of generational transition, that a great leader will grow old, evolve, change, and teach the next generation how to lead, is violently interrupted. What we are left with is the idea that there is nothing Malcolm X or Martin Luther King could have done to keep from being killed except to be silent – not an option for either, nor for Baldwin. X was killed even as he was becoming less militant, less radical, reversing against the idea of "the white devil". This "evolution" did not save him. King was killed even as he was becoming more radicalized, more desperate, slowly walking back the rule of love for the rule of forced respect. This "evolution" did not save him. There was nothing the White America that killed them wanted from them but silence in the face of dehumanization. And in its subtle, artistic, nuanced way, this film is about all of that. But it also ties itself to the moment. Images of Ferguson, photographs of unarmed black children left dead in the streets by police, video of Rodney King being brutalized beyond any justification, all of it means that Baldwin's words ring timeless, his call to action not remotely diffused by our distance from him and his time. In this regard, the film is extraordinary. AS A LOVER OF PEOPLE: Baldwin is by no means a traditionally handsome man, but he is a striking one. His charisma is nuclear and his face is always animated. When he speaks, the depth and warmth of the content play across his features. His eyebrows lift all the way to the middle of his forehead when he pauses to gather his considerable intellect for attack. His eyes turn down and to the right when he knows he's eviscerating an illegitimate institution. He punctuates an observation with a smile so genuine and wide that it emits its own light. To watch him command a talk show or a lecture is cinema enough. In that it gives us the gift of watching Baldwin speak – among so many other things - the film is extraordinary. I guess I have some small aesthetic qualms with the way the film is put together, but to what end? These are my own little opinions about the tiniest minutia of filmmaking. Personal hang- ups on a certain cut here or there, useless criticisms on a work that succeeds so profoundly in all the most valuable and important ways. The film is extraordinary, important, and genuine in any and every way that matters, and that's all there is to it.

  • An amazing use of cinematography and historical footage


    Note that the reason this is 5/10 stars right now is that there is a large bloc of people who have given it 1 star (presumably the white supremacist crowd). There is no way that anyone who believes in the need to tell black history would give this anything less than an 8/10. This cinematography was absolutely incredible, the use of historical footage to stitch together a narrative of the Civil Rights movement combined with recent footage makes this movie incredibly timely. James Baldwin proves a brilliant orator, and the story takes you through both his life and his relationships with Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers. This movie tells more black history than I learned in my entire public school education, and should be seen by everyone.

  • Captivating


    This documentary tells the story of the horrible history of the United States of America just decades ago, when the law and the public openly allowed horrifying discrimination based on race. Three individuals who spoke out against this terrible and sustained crime against equality were murdered. This documentary focuses on these three brave souls who met their untimely death. It is almost out of this world to see how discrimination and abuse happened as if it was normal. The archival footage are plentiful and very well selected in this documentary. What people said in front of camera in support of discrimination was horrific. I could not believe there was even someone singing about the murder of the African American activist. This documentary captivates my attention and evokes my emotions.

  • An Eloquent and Angry Examination of the Racial Divide


    James Baldwin began a book called "Remember This House" but died before completing it. It intended to weave together the stories of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers into a tapestry of the black American experience. In "I Am Not Your Negro," Samuel L. Jackson reads the finished portion of the manuscript, and filmmaker Raoul Peck sets the words to images from the Civil Rights Movement and the current Black Lives Matter movement. The result is a bracing and deservedly angry film that captures better than anything I've read or seen yet the reasons behind the frustration and outrage of American blacks. There's a marvelous moment in the film when a philosophy professor challenges Baldwin on the Dick Cavett Show for his attitudes, and basically holds Baldwin (and by extension black people) responsible for the continuing racial divide. His message seems to be "you're the one making an issue out of this, not me." Baldwin's take down of him in eloquent words that I won't even begin to try to replicate captures the essence of the entire film and the black struggle for equality. And Baldwin's criticism doesn't stop at racial issues. He also denounces American popular and material culture in general, accusing Americans of letting consumerism anesthetize them into a false sense of happiness and contentment that allows them to ignore all that is wrong with the American way of life. This is a movie that made me furious at America for continuing to stick its head up its ass when it comes to the subject of race. Watching Baldwin's heartfelt distress over the Civil Rights Movement juxtaposed to recent images from the news made it crystal clear that America has not progressed as much as it would like to think it has. Grade: A

  • profound and indelible statement that couldn't be more timely


    PROGRESSIVE CINEMA - One of the most artistic and daring political statements at this years Toronto International Film Festival, was the world premiere of Haitian-born Raoul Peck's I Am Not Your Negro, based on James Baldwin's unfinished book Remember This House. Not surprisingly the film won the People's Choice Documentary Award for its "radical narration about race in America today." Peck is from Haiti and has created one of the most progressive filmographies in cinema history. He actually received privileged access to the Baldwin archives because the family knew of his outstanding works on the Conga leader, Patrice Lumumba, specifically the 1990 political thriller Lumumba: Death of a Prophet and the 2000 award winning drama on the same subject, Lumumba. They trusted in his ability to accurately represent Baldwin's life and writings, and so he took 10 years to bring this masterpiece to the screen, after being rejected by every American studio he approached. And public agencies said "this is public money so you have to present both sides!" Thus, his ability to produce this film through his own successful company and a supportive French TV station ARTE, allowed him to make a film exactly like he wanted, with no censorship, and no one telling him to rush the film or mellow the message. Peck "didn't want to use the traditional civil rights archives." He chose to avoid the talking heads format and picked Samuel L. Jackson to embody the spirit of Baldwin in the potent narration. The film's powerful structure utilizing rare videos and photos and personal writings of Baldwin, and at the same time aligning them with contemporary issues of police brutality and race relations, creates a mesmerizing awareness of the continuity in the struggle for civil rights. Baldwin made a deep impact on the young impressionable Haitian filmmaker. Peck remembers back in the 60s when mostly white Americans were honored in pictures on walls, and that "it was Baldwin who first helped me see through this myth of American heroes." He felt that Baldwin had been forgotten or overlooked, while James Meredith, Medgar Evers, the Black Panthers, Huey Newton, Malcolm X and other Black leaders were either killed off, imprisoned, exiled or bought out. There were rare exceptions on commercial TV, once where Baldwin talked on the Dick Cavett Show for an hour uncensored. Baldwin, although a literary giant and a close friend to many leading activists, rarely appeared at events and mass rallies, and declined membership in parties or groups such as the NAACP, Panthers, SNCC, etc. And although he was homosexual, rarely focused on the issue of gay rights, which would have been even more isolating in those decades. Rightfully, this film brings to life Baldwin's poetry and passion for justice, and regains his importance in the field where art intersects activism. While addressing the enthusiastic audience in the Q&A, director Peck mentioned, "I hope this film will help rephrase what is called the race conversation, which deep down is a class conversation." Although class wasn't developed as much as race in this film, not coincidentally, Peck is now in post-production on a drama about young Karl Marx(!) – a major historical figure who has rarely if never been a subject in America cinema. And all of Peck's previous films are imbued with a deep sense of awareness in the class struggle. The director was a special guest at a TIFF Talk entitled Race and History where he covered many of the points mentioned here about taking control of your own artistic project. He defended the idea that an artist has a point of view and shouldn't be forced to compromise his political message, whether it's acceptable or not. Near the end of the conversation I was able to ask him a question about how difficult it is to market films on race and class. He responded by saying "I come from a generation that was more political and where the film content was more important. . . I tried to keep the content but provide a great movie. . .All my films are political but I make sure I tell a story, that it's art and poetry and that the audience will enjoy it." He confesses that he's privileged having his own company and that his films don't always have to make money. "It's about financing your movie, not making a profit. . .It's difficult to have those two sides in your head, because you know that having to make a profit means you often have to compromise. . .Once I have people trust me with their money, I am obliged to give them a great film -- I'm not obliged to give them profit." And he gave them a great film! I Am Not Your Negro was recently purchased by Magnolia Pictures for North American distribution, where they praised Peck for crafting a "profound and indelible statement that couldn't be more timely or powerful."


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