Raoul Peck: I Am Not Your Negro

Lucky punch! We had lunch with producer and director of the Robert Frank film ”Don’t Blink”, Melinda Shopsin and Laura Israel, who recommended us to visit a new cinema in downtown New York, Metrograph, a very nice venue, European art house style with restaurant, small bookshop, a bar and NO commercials before the film – it reminded us of Danish Cinemateket with film historical retrospectives and a ”special preview arrangement” of the already several times awarded ”I Am Not Your Negro” by Raoul Peck, nominated for the IDA Awards and on the shortlist of 15 running for the Documentary Oscar.

Peck’s film is a masterpiece, simply. Well crafted, well told, coming from the genius idea to make James Baldwin’s unfinished book (30 pages) ”Remember This House” into a film based on Baldwin’s words from the book (read beautifully by actor Samuel L. Jackson) plus great archive material with Baldwin himself, who was an excellent speaker, with clips from feature films, reportage material and footage of today and references till today’s racism in USA, for that is what the film is about, and his unfinished book: the racial discrimination and the murder of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr – who lost their lives because they wanted to change the situation for the negros, as it is formulated by Baldwin with passion. You sit and watch events and people that you know about already and yet you are amazed by how much it still affects you, because the director puts the story so strongly together. There is and is not a chronology, the present is there, black people killed by white people in this century, black lives matter. This film helps as a film – far from the tv reportage – to put history in a perspective of today.

In an interview Raoul Peck says: “James Baldwin has clearly become intellectually and politically unsurpassable — in fact, a visionary”. “Ironically and tragically, he is becoming more so by the day. It is truly a pleasure to partner with such a great team to re-introduce James Baldwin to the American audience.”

Yes, the one who writes this, educated librarian, wants to check out James Baldwin again. And to watch this great film work again.

http://metrograph.com/

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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