Race, Surrealism, and Apocalyptic in North American Film
In an August, 2018 interview, artist Boots Riley noted: “In the World of Film, We’ve Edited out All Rebellion” (the title of the interview, in Jacobin). In 1991, Anita Addison, an executive producer and director, explained in the Los Angeles Times: “There are plenty of men directors who are working today simply because they give good meeting” . . . “The industry right now does not accommodate the style of women.” In this seminar, we will read closely films created by African-American artists as acts of creative resistance to the intertwined forces of capitalism, racism, and sexism in the U.S. We will attend in particular to ways that artists acknowledge and bend the daily realities of fear and domination in workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods, as well as create openings for alternative futures. Films will include Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash), The Gifted (Audrey King Lewis), An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (Terence Nance), Bamboozled (Spike Lee), Get Out (Jordan Peele), and Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley), among others to be determined. Television episodes and music videos will include work by Millicent Shelton, Debbie Allen, Sha-Rock, MC Lyte, Prince, Public Enemy, Mos Def, Daniel Glover, Chris Rock, Common, Aaron McGruder, Erykah Badu, and Janelle Monae. Assignments will include close-reading papers (due each session) and regular participation. Regular participation involves listening and attending to the words of other students as well as speaking words of your own.