To celebrate African Heritage Month, three landmark films in black cinema will be screened at the Dalhousie Art Gallery (6101 University Avenue) in the next two weeks. Curated by filmmaker and film professor Ron Foley Macdonald, the series is free (!) and open to all.
Tuesday, February 2 (5pm)
She's Gotta Have It (1986)
Directed, produced and written by Spike Lee, this award-winning comedy-drama was his first feature-length motion picture, and in the New York Times' estimation it "ushered in" American indie film. It follows a modern young Brooklyn woman, Nola (Tracy Camilla Johns), as she's pursued by three men who want to put a ring on it. Via Nola, the film deals with independence, femininity and identity—both as a female love interest and as a black woman in America, and the inherent struggle of those themes.
Tuesday, February 9 (5pm)
Dear White People (2014)
In this Sundance award-winning film by Justin Simien, a preppy white guy describes lead character Sam (Tessa Thompson), a radio activist and writer who is attempting to undo the status quo, as the result of "Spike Lee and Oprah" having "some sort of pissed off baby." It's a relevant and witty satire on race, class and identity in America, in an upper-class setting and with comedic nuance. "There are some movies about race that don't tell the truth. They tell us what we already know," Simien told Interview. "I think art is much more valuable when it's honest."
Tuesday, February 16 (5pm)
Losing Ground (1982)
The first feature drama directed by a black woman (Kathleen Collins), Losing Ground "affects the familiar soul-searching feel of many modern indies," says critic Jesse Cataldo. "Race is never an overt narrative or interpersonal factor," Cataldo continues, which distinguishes this film in American cinema. Losing Ground is the story of a husband and wife dealing with a failing marriage, risky temptations (in the form of Duane Jones, later the hero in Night of the Living Dead) and heated struggles.