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network 05/02/2015 - 03:00PM

DOCUMENTARIES FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH

From voodooists in Haiti to children in Toronto’s Regent Park to vegan radicals in Philadelphia to unjustly criminalized lesbians in New York City, the stories of individuals who have helped shape black history are being screened across Cinema Politica’s network of around 90 locals this month.    

AYITI TOMA, IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING sheds light on a new Haiti – a Haiti that has battled slavery, imperialism, and natural disasters; a Haiti whose inhabitants want to decide their own future. As stated by one of the Haitian locals in the film, “Every nation has to create its own course.” As such, this documentary gives a listening ear to a Haitian vision of creating a true “Ayiti Toma,” meaning a country that is theirs.

The aspiration to define one’s own future is echoed in INVISIBLE CITY. This film tells the story of two boys from Regent Park. Though they and their families hope for a better tomorrow, the very fabric of this inner city community is falling apart. The Regent Park “Revitalization” project poses a threat to their sense of belonging and social pressures tempt them to make decisions that do not always work in their own interest. 

Looking to the past, there have been other dark moments in black history. LET THE FIRE BURN turns to May 13, 1985, in the city of Philadelphia. Eleven people were killed and 61 homes were destroyed after local police dropped military-grade explosives onto a house occupied by MOVE, a radical urban group who had posed no threat to authorities or others. MOVE members aimed to challenge a corrupt system that repeatedly opposed their rights and freedoms. This documentary exposes a tragedy that has been largely forgotten.

Black history also converges with other social histories, notably LGBTQ history. OUT IN THE NIGHT documents a group of young African American lesbians on a night out in New York City. A man sexually and violently confronts the women and threatens to “fuck them straight.” In an attempt to defend themselves, one of the group pulls out a knife and stabs the assailant. Now known as the “Gang of Killer Lesbians” in the racist and lesbophobic mainstream media, they are charged with gang assault, assault and attempted murder. The film follows their story through the criminal injustice system and reveals the oppressive forces of the state and mainstream culture in the US.

Combined, these films shed light on marginalized stories, subjugated histories and radical perspectives that need to be heard, told, and retold both during Black History month and at every other moment. We’re proud that our locals are highlighting critical moments in black history, and we hope you can come out to one of our screenings of these films and more.

Visit cinemapolitica.org/screenings/upcoming to see a complete listing of all upcoming screenings throughout the CP Network.

 

 

 

 

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