James Baldwin Abroad: A Program of 3 Films
James Baldwin: the brilliant thinker, writer, and activist whose prescient essays, plays, and novels continue to shine a searing light on American racism 35 years after his death.
Born in 1924, in Harlem, Baldwin spent much of his life abroad, and in these three short films — made in Istanbul, Paris, and London (with Dick Gregory) — he can be charming, candid, churlish, witty, and acerbic. Whether ruminating on his own “American-ness,” his experience as a child-minister, Black Power, or the nature of love and sexuality, creativity, freedom, and survival — his unsparing opinions are never less than eye-opening, and his onscreen presence never less than riveting. All three films included in this program have been recently restored.
About the Films
JAMES BALDWIN: FROM ANOTHER PLACE
(dir. Sedat Pakay, Turkey 1973)
12 min - B&W - 1.37
New Restoration. A Cinema Conservancy Release
Sedat Pakay was a Turkish photographer and filmmaker who specialized in portraits of artists, including Andy Warhol, Gordon Parks, Mark Rothko, and many others. Shot in Istanbul - where Baldwin lived off and on throughout the 1960s - James Baldwin: From Another Place finds the author in a reflective mood, discussing his work, sexuality, and complex feelings about the United States. Preserved by the Yale Film Archive with support from the National Film Preservation Foundation.
MEETING THE MAN: JAMES BALDWIN IN PARIS
(dir. Terence Dixon, UK 1971)
26 min - Color - 1.37
New Restoration. Released by The Film Desk
Returning to Paris, where he first moved (or escaped to) in 1948, James Baldwin visits the Place de la Bastille in the company of white British filmmaker Terence Dixon to discuss the contradictory manner in which revolutions (French, Colonial, and Black American) are portrayed and considered. Sparring verbally with Dixon - to whom he could issue a knockout intellectual blow at any moment - Baldwin once again proves himself to be the great thinker of modern times. Picture and audio restoration by Mark Rance, Watchmaker Films, London.
(dir. Horace Ové, UK 1968)
46 min - B&W - 1.37
New Restoration. Released by Janus Films.
In this riveting short documentary by pioneering Trinidadian-British filmmaker Horace Ové, James Baldwin and comedian-activist Dick Gregory speak to a group of radical West Indian students in London about everything from the state of the civil rights movement to the perils of false consciousness. The provocative title, drawn from Baldwin’s words, refers to one of the painful realities of Black American identity: that even his name conjures a history of slavery. Restoration courtesy of the British Film Institute.