Cinema 53 is a new screening and discussion series presenting conversation-provoking films by and about women and people of color. A partnership between the historic Harper Theater in downtown Hyde Park and the University of Chicago’s Gray Center for Arts & Inquiry, Cinema 53 brings together scholars, artists, students and audiences from the South Side and beyond to consider how visual cultures reflect, and reflect upon, enduring inequalities and revolutionary futures. Curated by Gray Center director Jacqueline Stewart.
On the fiftieth anniversary of 1968, Cinema 53 presents revolutionary films and films about revolution, co-curated by artist Cauleen Smith and UChicago film scholar Robert Bird. This evening’s screenings feature Finally Got the News (Stewart Bird, Rene Lichtman & Peter Gessner with League of Revolutionary Black Workers, 1970, 55m), Congo Oye: We have come back (Bill Stephens, Paul and Carole Roussopoulas with Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver, 1971, 45m.) and will be followed by conversation with Bird, Smith, Jonathan Flatley and Matt Peterson.
On the fiftieth anniversary of 1968, Cinema 53 presents revolutionary films and films about revolution, co-curated by artist Cauleen Smith and UChicago film scholar Robert Bird. This evening’s screening features Born in Flames (Lizzie Borden, 1983, 90m), and will be followed by a conversation with Bird, Smith and UChicago film scholar Kara Keeling.
Bask in the gorgeousness of screen idols Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte in Carmen Jones, and their superfly successors Diana Ross and Billy Dee Williams in Mahogany. See the lush, Beyoncé -inspiring cinematography of Djibril Diop Mambety’s Senegalese classic Touki Bouki and Julie Dash’s dazzling Daughters of the Dust. And don’t miss the Chicago premiere of Rock Rubber 45S, a star-studded portrait of the life and free-lance virtuoso of dj, author and hip-hop culture orchestrator Bobbito Garcia, who will be in attendance.
Part urban fantasy and part ethnographic group portrait, Swagger (Olivier Babinet, 2015, 84 min) focuses on a dozen teenagers getting by in the streets, projects and schools of Aulnay-sous-Bois, a suburb of Paris that made the headlines during the riots of 2005. Screening followed by a conversation with Jennifer Wild, Jacqueline Stewart, and Global Girls.
Cinema 53 kicks off its spring series, Intimités: Everyday Life in Contemporary Afro/French Cinema, with a screening of films by Alice Diop and Mati Diop, followed by conversation with Jennifer Wild (University of Chicago, Cinema & Media Studies, Romance Languages & Literatures), Jacqueline Stewart (University of Chicago, Cinema & Media Studies, Gray Center for Arts + Inquiry), and director of the Black Film Center/Archive, Terri Francis.
In solidarity and dialogue with her fellow L.A. Rebellion filmmakers, Zeinabu irene Davis convenes the group of artists brought together by the UCLA film program—including notable directors Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust) and Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep)—to recall their experiences and historicize their legacy on film and far beyond. Screening followed by conversation with Davis, University of Chicago film scholar Allyson Nadia Field, and Cinema 53 curator Jacqueline Stewart.
LA Rebellion filmmaker Barbara McCullough’s latest film looks into the life of the once-blacklisted musical genius Horace Tapscott—the consummate musician, community activist, and mentor to generations of jazz artists. Screening followed by a conversation with director Barbara McCullough and composer Renée Baker.
The landmark visual album Lemonade (Beyoncé, 2016) draws inspiration from the evocative imagery of Julie Dash, Arthur Jafa and Carrie Mae Weems, and the haunting poetry of Warsan Shire, to protest the invisibility of Black women, and offer a radical, but complicated, revisioning of Black female bodies and struggles. The screening will be followed by conversation with filmmaker Julie Dash, singer, songwriter, and poet Jamila Woods and Cinema 53 curator Jacqueline Stewart (University of Chicago, Cinema & Media Studies).