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Film Series

Fight the Power: Black Superheroes on Film

 
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Film Series
 
Feb 2—Feb 18, 2018
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Part of BAMcinématek

Before Black Panther there was...an entire alternative cinematic history of black screen heroes who challenged establishment power structures through their sheer existence. From blaxploitation icons to supernatural avengers to anti-colonial outlaws, this series spotlights industry-defying images of black heroism and empowerment in films that are as socially and politically subversive as they are downright fun.


 
Sweet sweet back
Film
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song
Fri, Feb 2, 2018
 
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song
Fri, Feb 2, 2018
 

Melvin Van Peebles’ DIY landmark combines X-rated spectacle, New Wave experimentation, and stick-it-to-the-man politics for what Huey P. Newton called “the first truly revolutionary Black film.”

+ Special appearance by director Melvin Van Peebles
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Abar
Film
Abar: The First Black Superman
Fri, Feb 2, 2018
 
Abar: The First Black Superman
Fri, Feb 2, 2018
 

A black revolutionary is transformed into an indestructible, telekinetic man of steel who sets about unleashing justice upon a racist white suburb in this wildly entertaining blaxploitation film.

MOREbuy
 
Foxybrown
Film
Foxy Brown
Sat, Feb 3, 2018
 
Foxy Brown
Sat, Feb 3, 2018
 

Pam Grier cemented her status as a super-fly black power icon with this bam-bang-pow grindhouse classic, in which the titular “one chick hit squad” takes on the band of baddies that murdered her brother.

MOREbuy
 
Cleo
Film
Cleopatra Jones
Sat, Feb 3, 2018
 
Cleopatra Jones
Sat, Feb 3, 2018
 

Altitudinous, uzi-wielding “Special Agent to the President” Cleopatra Jones blows up Turkish poppy fields while taking down a smack ring in this funky, ferocious mix of feminism and fight-the-man attitude.

+ Intro by Racquel Gates, Assistant Professor of Cinema & Media Studies at the College of Staten Island, CUNY before 4:30 screening.
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shaft
Film
Shaft
Sun, Feb 4, 2018
 
Shaft
Sun, Feb 4, 2018
 

The blaxploitation sensation that kicked off a wave of Afro-centric crime dramas stars Richard Roundtree as—per Isaac Hayes’ iconic theme song—“the black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks.”

+ Intro by novelist and culture critic Nelson George
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Buck
Film
Buck and the Preacher
Sun, Feb 4, 2018
 
Buck and the Preacher
Sun, Feb 4, 2018
 

Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte team up to fight white oppressors in this politically charged, shoot-’em-up Western, the rare oater to address African-American pioneer life.

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Space is the place
Film
Space is the Place
Mon, Feb 5, 2018
 
Space is the Place
Mon, Feb 5, 2018
 

Avant-jazz mystic Sun Ra brought his pioneering Afrofuturist vision to film with this kaleidoscopic whirl of science fiction, sharp social commentary, pseudo-blaxploitation stylistics, and concert performance.

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Film
The Spook Who Sat By the Door
Mon, Feb 5, 2018
 
The Spook Who Sat By the Door
Mon, Feb 5, 2018
 

Suppressed for decades by the FBI, the most radical, anti-white supremacy statement of the blaxploitation era follows a disillusioned black CIA agent who builds a guerilla army intent on government overthrow.

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Blackdyna
Film
Black Dynamite
Tue, Feb 6, 2018
 
Black Dynamite
Tue, Feb 6, 2018
 

A kung-fu-fighting ex-CIA agent fights The Man in this hilarious spoof of/homage to blaxploitation cinema, which—from the music to the fashion to the jive—nails the goofball charm of the genre it parodies.

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Spawn
Film
Spawn
Tue, Feb 6, 2018
 
Spawn
Tue, Feb 6, 2018
 

This pure cinema pop spectacle stars Michael Jai White as the screen’s first black blockbuster superhero, a scarred avenger caught (literally) between good and evil, as personified by John Leguizamo.

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Night of the living dead
Film
Night of the Living Dead
Wed, Feb 7, 2018
 
Night of the Living Dead
Wed, Feb 7, 2018
 

George Romero’s stunningly subversive horror milestone is both the mother of all zombie movies and a still-shocking vision of Vietnam-era America consuming itself.

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Candyman
Film
Candyman
Wed, Feb 7, 2018
 
Candyman
Wed, Feb 7, 2018
 

This 90s horror classic—in which a hook-handed serial killer spirit terrorizes Chicago”s Cabrini-Green housing projects—is rich in compelling racial and social commentary.

+ Intro by novelist Victor LaValle
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Blade
Film
Blade + Blade II
Fri, Feb 9, 2018
 
Blade + Blade II
Fri, Feb 9, 2018
 

This inventive, ultra-stylized science fiction-horror hybrid made an iconic Wesley Snipes the first black actor to anchor a mega-budget superhero franchise as the half-vampire slayer of fanged menaces.

+ Intro by film theorist and author Michael B. Gillespie.
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Kirikou
Film
Kirikou and the Sorceress
Sun, Feb 11, 2018
 
Kirikou and the Sorceress
Sun, Feb 11, 2018
 

Based on a West African folk tale, this exquisite animated fable combines striking, jewel-box visuals with a vibrant soundtrack by Senegalese great Youssou N’Dour.

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men in black
Film
Men In Black
Sun, Feb 11, 2018
 
Men In Black
Sun, Feb 11, 2018
 

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are the Ray-Ban-sporting, memory-zapping galaxy defenders in this refreshingly breezy blockbuster.

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Blacksuperhero Shorts
Film
The Future of the Black Screen Superhero + discussion
Sun, Feb 11, 2018
 
The Future of the Black Screen Superhero + discussion
Sun, Feb 11, 2018
 

This international program of captivating short films, from Afrofuturist fantasies to dystopian social commentary, is followed by a panel discussion exploring the exciting future of black screen superheroes.

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Meteorman
Film
The Meteor Man
Sun, Feb 11, 2018
 
The Meteor Man
Sun, Feb 11, 2018
 

After he’s struck by a meteor, a DC schoolteacher acquires super powers and sets about cleaning up his community in this lovably goofball farce from the writer-director-star of Hollywood Shuffle.

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The harder they come
Film
The Harder They Come
Mon, Feb 12, 2018
 
The Harder They Come
Mon, Feb 12, 2018
 

Legendary roots musician Jimmy Cliff is an aspiring singer who becomes anti-establishment outlaw in this vivid time capsule of 1970s Jamaica.

+ Intro by Curtis John, co-founder of the Caribbean Film Series
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Besouro
Film
Besouro
Mon, Feb 12, 2018
 
Besouro
Mon, Feb 12, 2018
 

Breathtaking action sequences highlight this retelling of the life of Afro-Brazilian martial arts legend Besouro Manganga, who used his superhuman skills to free black workers from white plantation owners.

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black girl begins
Film
Caribbean Film Series: Brown Girl Begins + S0.CI3.TY
Tue, Feb 13, 2018
 
Caribbean Film Series: Brown Girl Begins + S0.CI3.TY
Tue, Feb 13, 2018
 

Caribbean folklore meets Afrofuturist superhero saga in this one-of-a-kind feminist origin story inspired by Nalo Hopkinson's acclaimed coming-of-age novel Brown Girl in the Ring.

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Queen of the damned
Film
Queen of the Damned
Tue, Feb 13, 2018
 
Queen of the Damned
Tue, Feb 13, 2018
 

Pop sensation Aaliyah—in the second and final of her only two big screen appearances—lights up this deliciously dark, glitzy-goth horror extravaganza adapted from Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles.

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The brother from another planet
Film
The Brother From Another Planet
Fri, Feb 16, 2018
 
The Brother From Another Planet
Fri, Feb 16, 2018
 

A mute, black alien crash-lands in Harlem in this lo-fi lost treasure, which balances wry comedy with a heartfelt political consciousness.

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Sleight
Film
Sleight
Fri, Feb 16, 2018
 
Sleight
Fri, Feb 16, 2018
 

One of the most overlooked releases of the last year, this subtly supernatural story follows a teenage street magician who uses his Houdini-like skills to leave behind his life as a drug dealer.

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Ghostdog
Film
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
Sat, Feb 17, 2018
 
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
Sat, Feb 17, 2018
 

Forest Whitaker is a Zen hitman who lives by an ancient samurai code in Jim Jarmusch’s inventively offbeat crime thriller, which features a super-cool score by RZA.

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Catwoman
Film
Catwoman
Sat, Feb 17, 2018
 
Catwoman
Sat, Feb 17, 2018
 

Infamous though it may be, this Batman spinoff—with Halle Berry as the leather-clad, whip-cracking super-feline—is the rare $100 million studio spectacle built around a tale of black female empowerment.

MOREbuy
 
Yeelen
Film
Yeelen
Sat, Feb 17, 2018
 
Yeelen
Sat, Feb 17, 2018
 

This transfixing masterpiece from Malian auteur Souleymane Cissé is a supernatural coming-of-age odyssey shot through with a lyrical visual style and a spellbinding sense of mysticism.

MOREbuy
 
Strange days
Film
Strange Days
Sun, Feb 18, 2018
 
Strange Days
Sun, Feb 18, 2018
 

Kathryn Bigelow explores virtual reality, racist policing, and the end of days in this dazzling sci-fi head-trip, which features Angela Bassett as one of the steeliest heroines of the 90s.

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Attack the block
Film
Attack the Block
Sun, Feb 18, 2018
 
Attack the Block
Sun, Feb 18, 2018
 

John Boyega plays a South London teen fending off an alien invasion in this British satire blending 80s-style creature-feature thrills, whip-smart wit, and incisive social commentary.

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Black Comix Expo
Neighborhood
BAM Black Comix Expo
 

BAM and the Black Comics Collective present a day-long showcase celebrating comics of color.

Sun, Feb 11, 2018
 
 
Free
Black panther
Film
Black Panther
 

Marvel Studios’ most anticipated film of 2018 opens at the BAM Harvey Theater on February 15.

Opens on Feb 15, 2018
NEW RELEASE