I Am Not Your Negro

I Am Not Your Negro

Raoul Peck (2016)

89min
12A Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Despite Raoul Peck's profile of James Baldwin being nominated for an Oscar, many will still need to Google the American writer domiciled in France who became the conscience of the Civil Rights movement, as facts here are in short supply. But, as an insight into the mind of a thinker who saw racism as a psychological flaw as much as a social prejudice, this assemblage of news footage, film clips, television interviews and readings is consistently profound and troubling. Much is owed to the sonorous sincerity with which Samuel L Jackson delivers the poetic prose from Remember This House, an unfinished memoir of Baldwin's murdered friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. But Baldwin is also a mesmerising presence and the furious, melancholic way in which he laments the "crisis of the American spirit" is all the more potent because his dystopic vision has come to pass (and well beyond the US border, too). Editor Alexandra Strauss interlinks the footage with judicious care to contrast police brutality from the Jim Crow and Barack Obama eras, but what leaves the deepest impression is Baldwin's unheeded warnings.

Summary

Documentary-maker Raoul Peck uses an unfinished manuscript by James Baldwin, an account of the lives and successive assassinations of civil rights leaders Medgar Evans, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr, as the springboard for this examination of the black experience in America. Narrated by Samuel L Jackson, the film uses Baldwin's words as it explores everything from Hollywood stereotypes to police brutality.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Samuel L Jackson
James Baldwin James Baldwin
Director Raoul Peck

Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: AltitudeGuidance: Violence, swearing.Available on: DVDReleased on: 7 Apr 2017
Documentary