With the subtitle… and all political prisoners, an addition that Angela Davis, the person in question, the hero of the film, the charismatic icon of the Black Power movement, imprisoned in 1970 for involvement in the killing of a judge, with other victims, being the owner of the murder weapon… an addition that Davis insisted on during her time in jail, trying to avoid the focus on her alone, in vain, as she became a symbol for freedom and justice all over the world, including the communist world. Davis was a member of the American Communist party until 1991.
”You know her name, know her story”, says the text on the film poster, right, at least for my generation, but the historical details, the events back in 1970, are good to meet again, as you do in this classically told documentary that uses archive, interviews and the voice of Angela Davis herself, in and out of the image. With the emphasis on the time leading up to her arrest, the trial and the release due to the decision of an all-white jury.
Good to meet her again in a dramatised form that appeals to the emotions, when you see and hear Angela’s sister and others fight for her release then, travelling the world to get support, as well as the lawyers that had her case… not to forget the love story between Davis and Black Panther icon George Jackson (shot dead in 1971) that was used against her by the prosecutor.
You could argue that it would have been interesting to know what happened to Davis in the following decades, the director decided not to go in that direction even if Davis herself (born 1944, still with big impressive hair and characteristic smile), in the film, indicates that the events back then has shaped her life as an activist and fighter for black women’s rights.
The distributor in France mk2 has published an interview (in French) with Angela Davis and the director in the magazine Trois Couleurs, link below. The film was seen in a mk2 cinema in Paris.