Black History Month 2023 • 1h 10m
Directed by Chantal Akerman • Documentary • 1999 • 70 minutes
Inspired by her love of William Faulkner and James Baldwin, renowned director Chantal Akerman had planned to produce a meditation on the American South. However, just days before she was to begin filming, James Byrd, Jr. was murdered in Jasper, Texas. A black family man, Byrd has been severely beaten by three white men, chained to their truck, and dragged three miles through predominately black parts of the county.
Alternating static shots and dolly shots, Akerman reconstitutes the horrible incident. "We found pieces of his body all along the road," says one witness. But this is not an anatomy of his murder, nor the autopsy of a black man lynched by three white males. Rather, it is an evocation of how this event fits in to a landscape and climate that is as much mental as physical.
"Chantal Akerman is arguably the most important European director of her generation."—J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Up Next in Black History Month 2023
Street Fighting Men
Directed by Andrew James • Documentary • With James "Jack Rabbit" Jackson, Deris Solomon, Minister Malik Shabazz, Derionna Watkins, Lorraine Ray • 2020 • 101 minutes
In a rapidly changing America where mass inequality and dwindling opportunity have devastated the black working class, three men f...
Directed by Marlon Riggs • Documentary • 1989 • 55 minutes
The seminal documentary on Black gay life, Emmy Award-winning director Marlon T. Riggs’ 1989 Tongues Untied uses poetry, personal testimony, rap and performance (featuring poet Essex Hemphill and others), to describe the homophobia and r...