L.A. Rebellion

Date Film Time
5/23 Compensation 7:00 PM
6/6 As Above, So Below 7:00 PM

Block Cinema is pleased to be one of three Chicago film institutions co-presenting the 12-part film series L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema, an essential retrospective of one of the most important movements in American independent cinema. In the late 1960s, a group of promising African and African American students entered UCLA to study film. Now referred to as the L.A. Rebellion, these mostly unheralded artists created a unique cinematic landscape, as—over the course of two decades—students arrived, mentored one another, and passed the torch to the next group. Their fascinating, provocative and visionary films are now being presented in a travelling program from UCLA. Block Cinema will present two of these programs, including former NU faculty Zeinabu irene Davis’ film Compensation, which depicts two Chicago love stories featuring a deaf woman and a hearing man; and Larry Clark’s As Above, So Below, a powerful political film about Black insurgency.

Compensation

Thursday, May 23, 2013 7:00 PM FREE
(Zeinabu irene Davis, 1999, USA, video, 90 min.)

In English with subtitles.

A sign language interpreter will be present for the discussion.

Director (and former NU faculty member) Zeinabu irene Davis’ first feature depicts two Chicago love stories, one set at the dawn of the 20th century and the other in contemporary times, featuring a deaf woman and a hearing man. Played by the same actors (Michelle A. Banks and John Earl Jelks), both couples face the specter of death when the man is diagnosed with tuberculosis in the earlier story, and the woman with AIDS in the contemporary one. Inspired by a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar (who died of tuberculosis in 1906, at the age of 33), the film (shot in and around the North Shore) considers the ephemeral nature of love and life, while illustrating the enduring challenges of race and racism, over the course of a century.—Jacqueline Stewart

Also screening will be an excerpt from Davis’ forthcoming documentary, Spirits of Rebellion, about the L.A. Rebellion filmmakers.

IN PERSON: Zeinabu irene Davis

Followed by:

Dark Exodus (Iverson White, 1985, USA, 16mm, 28 min.)

This short film focuses on an African-American family in the early part of the 20th century that sends its sons north in search of a better life.

New 16mm print courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archive.

As Above, So Below

Thursday, June 6, 2013 7:00 PM FREE
(Larry Clark, 1973, USA, 16mm, 52 min.)

A rediscovered masterpiece, director Larry Clark’s As Above, So Below comprises a powerful political and social critique in its portrayal of Black insurgency. The film opens in 1945 with a young boy playing in his Chicago neighborhood and then follows the adult Jita-Hadi as a returning Marine with heightened political consciousness. Like The Spook Who Sat By the Door and Gordon’s War, As Above, So Below imagines a post-Watts rebellion state of siege and an organized Black underground plotting revolution. With sound excerpts from the 1968 HUAC report “Guerrilla Warfare Advocates in the United States,” As Above, So Below is one of the more politically radical films of the L.A. Rebellion.—Allyson Nadia Field

New 16mm print courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archive.

Preceded by:

Ujami Uhuru Schule (Don Amis, 1974, US, video, 9 min.)

Ujami Uhuru Schule–Swahili for Community Freedom School, is a day-in-the-life portrait of an Afrocentric primary learning academy located in South Los Angeles.

IN PERSON: Larry Clark