Monday, September 26, 2011

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975: A Revu

    The Black Power movement was alive and well in the sixties and seventies.
From 1967-1975, it shifted into another gear and took on a life of its own.
That eight-year stretch is the subject of Goran Hugo Olsson’s enlightening documentary, “The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975,” currently playing at the Nuart Theater in Los Angeles.
Through archival footage of interviews and events shot by Swedish journalists, the story of how the movement took shape and form is seen through the eyes of Swedish filmmakers.
It combines 16mm footage that had been lying undiscovered in the cellar of Swedish Television for the past 30 years, with contemporary audio interviews from well-known Black scholars, activists, artists and musicians.
While it doesn’t reveal or offer up anything new, it does deliver a different perspective on the movement as seen from the eyes of individuals from a different culture.
It’s also a refresher course on the importance and polarizing effects of the Black Power Movement in America.
What is unique is the access granted to some of the movement’s most influential subjects, like Angela Davis, Bobby Seale, Stokely Carmichael and Eldridge Cleaver. The interviews with these civil rights icons are candid, intimate and unguarded.

At the end of the 60s and into the early 70s, Swedish interest peaked regarding America’s civil rights and anti-war movements.
Olsson’s film introduces the Black Power Movement to a whole new generation worldwide.
Highlights in the documentary include a sit-down interview with Louis Farrakhan on the eve of his rise to power in the Nation of Islam, not to mention a poignant moment where Stokely Carmichael interviews his own mother. Both are priceless!

After watching The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 it’s clear the struggle continues.
The documentary, written and directed by Goran Hugo Olsson, features Erykah Badu, Melvin Van Peebles, Harry Belafonte, Bobby Seale, Sonia Sanchez, Ahmir Questlove Thompson, Kathleen Cleaver, Robin Kelley, John Forte, Angela Davis, Louis Farrakhan, Talib Kweli, Huey P. Newton, Aiodun Oyewole, Stokely Carmichael, Eldridge Cleaver and Kenny Gamble.
    Music by Ahmir Questlove Thompson.
A Story, Louverture Films and Svenges Television production. Produced by Annika Rogell. Executive producer, Tobias Janson. Co-producers, Joslyn Barnes, Danny Glover.
    The film is currently in theaters. It’s playing exclusively through Thursday, Sept. 29, at Landmark Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles. It can also be seen at the Embarcadero in San Francisco, Shattuck in Berkely-Piedmont in Oakland, CA; at the Playhouse 7 in Pasadena and the Monica 4 in Santa Monica, CA.
    On the Donloe Scale, “The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 gets an E (Excellent).  D (don’t bother), O (Oh, No), N (Need some work), L (Likable), O (Ok) E (Excellent).

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