Another Oscar

"Around the time that the KKK rode to victory in The Birth of a Nation (1915), Al Jolson applied burned cork to his face in The Jazz Singer (1927), and scores of African-American actors bowed, scraped, shucked, and jived in Hollywood productions, an alternative cinema was thriving,” writes Melissa Anderson this week for Artforum, in a preview of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s two-week, thirty-five-film series Faded Glory: Oscar Micheaux and Black Pre-War Cinema, which starts today. Anderson singles out for praise “[Paul] Robeson’s scorching bow in Body and Soul,” a Micheaux film that can be found in Criterion’s box set Paul Robeson: Portraits of the Artist.

The series also inspired Moving Image Source to reprint a 1994 article by David Schwartz, “Life Comes Through: The Bizarre Genius of Oscar Micheaux.” Asks Schwartz: “Is he a revolutionary genius whose films defy Hollywood convention in favor of an Afrocentric aesthetic; a reactionary charlatan who reinforced negative stereotypes; an inept amateur whose clumsy films fell laughably short of Hollywood standards; or an unintentional genius who produced films of astonishing formal invention?” Read the full piece here, and if you’re in New York, go see for yourself!

You have no items in your shopping cart