Blacklight Festival of International Black Cinema | Festival | Chicago Reader

Blacklight Festival of International Black Cinema 

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The ninth edition of the annual festival of black independent film will be held Friday, August 3, through Sunday, August 12 at the Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson. Tickets are $5, $3 for Blacklight, Film Center, and Jazz Institute members. For more information call 509-2981 or 443- 3737.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 3

A PART OF ME Two friends--high school seniors and star football players, one black and one white--prepare for the last three games of the season. Written, directed by, and starring Michael J. Holland; he and Chicagoan Sandra Hodge, the producer, will be present at the screening. (6:00)

DEF BY TEMPTATION Former child actor James Bond III wrote, directed, produced, and stars in this comedy-horror feature about a divinity student fighting to overcome sexual temptation who visits an actor friend in New York (Kadeem Hardison) and encounters further temptation. With Bill Nunn and Cynthia Bond, and cameos by Melba Moore and Freddie Jackson. James Bond will be present at the screening. (8:30)

SATURDAY, AUGUST 4

PASSING THROUGH One of the rare fiction features about the jazz world made by a black filmmaker--and every bit as important as Mo' Better Blues. This 1977 film by Larry Clark, written by Ted Lange, follows the experiences of a young saxophonist (Nathaniel Taylor) who was recently released from prison and is trying to deal with the political aspects of his profession with the help of an older musician (Clarence Muse). Original, thoughtful, and quite different from other films about jazz and black culture, this is a very special and sadly neglected first feature, with an interesting feeling for the music that is boldly translated into film style. (3:30)

LEADBELLY Gordon Parks's 1976 film, his last Hollywood feature, is an unfortunately dry and pious telling of the life of the great blues singer. Roger E. Mosley, as Leadbelly, does a lot of fighting, drinking, and singing, but the film comes to an end just as it threatens to leave the cliches behind and get interesting--with the beginning of Leadbelly's concert career and the gradual co-opting of his music. (DK) (6:00)

DEF BY TEMPTATION See listing under Friday, August 3. James Bond III will be present at the screening. (8:30)

SUNDAY, AUGUST 5

INDEPENDENT SHORTS #1 Maureen Blackwood's Perfect Image (1988) from Great Britain; Anita Addison's Savannah (1990) from the U.S.; and Kenneth Kaplan's The Burden (1989) from South Africa. (3:30)

A PART OF ME See listing under Friday, August 3. Sandra Hodge will be present at the screening. (6:00)

TUESDAY, AUGUST 7

OTHELLO Ted Lange stars and makes his directorial debut in this adaptation of a stage production of the Shakespeare play featuring black actors in the roles of Othello, Iago (Hawthorne James), and Emilia. (1989). Lange will be present at the screening. (7:00)

THURSDAY, AUGUST 9

INDEPENDENT SHORTS #2 Sabine Jell-Bahlsen's hour-long, Nigerian documentary Mammy Water: In Search of the Water Spirits in Nigeria; Erik Hamilton Knight's Baobab, a personal short from the U.S. about the multicultural heritage of a young man with links to Norway and Barbados, shot in Kenya and New York; and David Johnson's 40-minute video The Session, which focuses on a fictional character who represents the new black middle-class (Eric Payne) who is captured and "deprogrammed" by a group called DROP (Deprogramming and Restoration of Pride), costarring Vondie Curtis Hall and Leonard Thomas. All three works were made in 1989. (6:00)

PERSONAL PROBLEMS (PART I) This feature-length video by author Ishmael Reed and the late Bill Gunn (Ganja and Hess) utilizes improvisation and a soap-opera format to challenge the norms of commercial TV in recounting the story of a woman (Verta Mae Grovesner) with a depressing hospital job, an unfaithful husband, a lover, and freeloading relatives. (8:30)

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Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Patience and Sarah Theater Wit
October 12
Performing Arts
Alice August LaCapra State Farm
September 29

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