Black History Month
Excellence in Black Cinema Series
Celebrate the legacy of Black films every Thursday at The Wright! Enjoy in-person screenings of films created by and about African-Americans, like 13th and A Wrinkle in Time.
Free and open to the public, each film will run at 9:30 AM, 12 noon, and 2 PM.
week 1: documentaries
13th: This is a 2016 American documentary film by director Ava DuVernay. The film explores the "intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States;" it is titled after the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, adopted in 1865, which abolished slavery throughout the United States and ended involuntary servitude except as a punishment for conviction of a crime.
Still a Brother: Inside the Negro Middle Class: Written by William Branch and photographed, directed, and edited by William Greaves, this film is a tour de force exploration of the external and internal pressures that the Negro middle class was facing at a watershed moment in American political history.
John Lewis: Good Trouble: An intimate account of legendary U.S. Representative John Lewis’ life, legacy, and more than 60 years of extraordinary activism — from the bold teenager on the front lines of the Civil Rights movement to the legislative powerhouse he was throughout his career. After Lewis petitioned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to help integrate a segregated school in his hometown of Troy, Alabama, King sent “the boy from Troy” a round trip bus ticket to meet with him. From that meeting onward, Lewis became one of King’s closest allies. He organized Freedom Rides that left him bloodied or jailed, and stood at the front lines in the historic marches on Washington and Selma. He never lost the spirit of the “boy from Troy” and called on his fellow Americans to get into “good trouble” until his passing on July 17, 2020.
Week 2: Foreign Films
Black Orpheus: This 1959 romantic tragedy film was made in Brazil by French director Marcel Camus and starring Marpessa Dawn and Breno Mello. It is based on the play Orfeu da Conceição by Vinicius de Moraes, which is itself an adaptation of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, set in the modern context of a favela in Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval. The film was an international co-production among production companies in Brazil, France, and Italy.
Tsotsi: Set in the Alexandra slum in Johannesburg, South Africa, this 2005 crime drama film stars Presley Chweneyagae as David/Tsotsi (Tsotsitaal name for "criminal"), a young street thug who steals a car only to discover a baby in the back seat. It was written and directed by Gavin Hood and produced by Peter Fudakowski, is an adaptation of the novel "Tsotsi", by Athol Fugard, and is a South African/UK co-production.
Half of a Yellow Sun: This is a 2013 Anglo-Nigerian drama film directed by Biyi Bandele based on the novel of the same name by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The film is historical fiction that follows two sisters who are caught up in the outbreak of the Nigerian Civil War.
week 3: based on a true story
Ghosts of Mississippi: Medgar Evers was an African-American civil rights activist in Mississippi murdered on June 12, 1963. It was suspected that Byron De La Beckwith, a white supremacist, was the murderer. He had been tried twice and both trials ended in hung juries. In 1989, Evers' widow Myrlie believed she had what it takes to bring him to trial again. Although most of the evidence from the old trial had disappeared, Bobby DeLaughter, an assistant District Attorney, decided to help her despite being warned that it might hurt his political aspirations. In 1994, Byron De La Beckwith was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment, giving justice to the family of Medgar Evers.
Red Tails: This film follows the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African-American United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) servicemen during World War II. The characters in the film are fictional, although based on real individuals.
The Great Debaters: This 2007 American biographical drama film was directed by and stars Denzel Washington. It is based on an article written about the Wiley College debate team by Tony Scherman for the spring 1997 issue of American Legacy.
Week 4: Fantasy & Science Fiction
A Wrinkle in Time: Directed by Ava DuVernay, this film is based on Madeleine L'Engle's 1962 novel of the same name. Produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Whitaker Entertainment, the story follows a young girl who, with the help of three astral travelers, sets off on a quest to find her missing father.
See You Yesterday: The film follows the story of an ambitious science prodigy, who uses her prowess and capabilities to create time machines, in order to save her brother who has been killed by a police officer. As she tries to alter the events of the past, she will eventually face the perilous consequences of time travel.
Jingle Jangle: An imaginary world comes to life in a holiday tale of an eccentric toymaker, his adventurous granddaughter, and a magical invention that has the power to change their lives forever.