Official, February 2018
What Exactly Is African-American Cinema?
Far be it from me to actually define what African-American Cinema is. So I'll offer up the following (taken from an introduction to an essay on this very topic):
How Will This Challenge Be Judged?The category “African American Cinema” presents important conceptual challenges for scholars, critics, and moviegoers. Before laying out those challenges, though, it is important to note that African American cinema is often thought of as part of American cinema, while at the same time, African American cinema is also often thought of as part of a global black diasporic cinema. Consequently, other articles in this bibliography that focus on elements of American cinema include entries relevant to research on African American cinema, and many articles on non-US cinemas—for example, African Cinema, British Cinema, Cuban Cinema, and Transnational and Diasporic Cinemas—include entries relevant to researching topics in “black cinema.” Now back to the conceptual challenges African American cinema presents: To clarify these challenges, think about three prepositions: by, of, for. Does African American cinema mean films made by African Americans? If so, who are the key figures in the making: director, writer, performers, producers, financiers? Does it matter if the finance comes from Hollywood or independent sources? If a researcher is interested in “by,” then the articles on Authorship and Auteur Theory and on the black directors Charles Burnett, Spike Lee, and Oscar Micheaux, and actor- director Sidney Poitier, may be of interest. Does African American cinema mean films of—films that depict—African Americans? If so, must such depictions make an African American a central figure? Must that figure be “positive” or “realistic” or, indeed, performed by an actor who would self-identify as African American or black? If a researcher is interested in “of,” see also The Birth of a Nation, The Jazz Singer, King Kong, and more general categories like blackface, blaxploitation, Exploitation Film, Pop, Blues, and Jazz in Films, Race and Cinema, and African American Stars. Does African American cinema mean films that seem to be for African Americans—films that aim to address or appeal to African American moviegoers or films that, by whatever measures (say, box office success or critical approbation by black critics), succeed with African American audiences? If a researcher is interested in “for,” see also Exhibition and Distribution and also entries on various genres and modes of filmmaking. Underlying many of the critical and scholarly studies of African American cinema are additional questions of—and passionate arguments about—how politics, activism, social connections and commitments, aesthetics, pleasure, entertainment, art, and commerce interrelate with one another—and how they should interrelate with one another. This article does not favor one position in these debates over another, but aims to present a range of positions in the scholarship on African American cinema.
To my knowledge, we've never run an official African-American cinema challenge on this forum, so I guess I get to set a little precedent. This is a challenge that's going to focus on the Black experience in America. A "Black Cinema" challenge would include the Black experience from all over the world - but an "African-American Cinema" challenge narrows that scope considerable. By definition, it's going to be (almost) exclusively American films. (There is an African challenge in June, FYI.) So any film that illustrates the Black experience in America would be acceptable for this challenge.
My goal is not to police what is and isn't African-American cinema - I'm going to be pretty permissive about what counts for this challenge. But I would ask that you be able to provide reasoning for your decision to include a film. I want to use this thread to promote conversations about African-American cinema, and encourage discussion - after all, that's how we learn about different points of view. So I will strongly encourage discussion about the films we watch (and yes, I'll prompt it at times).
- Rewatches allowed.
- A feature film (at least 40 min) counts as one entry.
- A total of 60 minutes of short films count as one entry.
- For mini-series, the usual 40/60 rules apply.
Stats & Formatting:
- Title (year, Country) is the preferred format
- For TV episodes, please use "Series Title: Episode Title" as the title
- New posts are preferred over edited posts
- I'll be tracking years and number of official lists with this challenge
None - and I think this is a critical gap on ICM.
African-American Cinema Lists:
http://www.library.ufl.edu/spec/belknap ... nemaaa.htm <-- I really like this list.
http://www.listchallenges.com/100-must- ... ican-films
https://www.ranker.com/crowdranked-list ... ack-movies
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/slat ... /monoglot/ (via 3eyes)
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/28+d ... rodosonix/ (via 3eyes/frbrown)
Netflix African American Cinema collection: https://www.netflix.com/title/80161851
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/o ... rose-again
https://www.amazon.com/Black-American-C ... 0415903971
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/14/movi ... rning.html
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/60s+ ... stardo138/
|Rank||Participant||Number of Watches||Total Official Lists|
Week 1 Stats
Week 2 Stats