This review essay examines the Film Society at Lincoln Center’s program Tell It Like It Is: Black Independents in New York, 1968–1986. Incorporating both television programs and cinematic (un)releases, Tell It Like It Is manages to highlight an often diminished or forgotten era in black image-making while also revealing a unique moment in television history. The double bind at the heart of such a program is the question of how to recognize and engage the wealth of material produced over the course of twenty years while still crafting a coherent series. By foregrounding testimonies from the past and standing as a testament to the failures of the present, this series challenges a film history that has repeatedly blotted out the work of black filmmakers.
Unsettling the Archive: Tell It Like It Is and the Constitutive Possibilities of Black Film History
Nicholas Forster is a PhD student in the programs of African American Studies and Film Studies at Yale University. His podcast “The Lower Frequencies” interviews academics, activists, artists, and scholars from a variety of disciplines whose experience relates to African American studies.
Nicholas Forster; Unsettling the Archive: Tell It Like It Is and the Constitutive Possibilities of Black Film History. Film Quarterly 1 September 2015; 69 (1): 64–71. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2015.69.1.64
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