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I’m not your nigga – Movie Review

The first thing to do before watching the brave documentary film I’m not your black is to ask yourself a question: why is a movie like this still on the bill today? One would like to think that in 2017 it would not really be necessary to review the problems that devastated humanity fifty, one hundred, two hundred years ago. Except for those that are related to indefensible concepts and that many of us considered – or wanted to consider – anachronistic, such as intolerance, racism, discrimination. But in that it comes Raoul peck, a Haitian man, black, political scientist and sympathizer of the left to stamp a pastelazo of reality in our faces and tear us away from our ridiculous intellectual onanism.

The movie I’m not your nigga It deserves to be included in the same list as the documentaries by Joshua Oppenheimer (The Act of Killing, The Look of Silence), Errol Morris (The Fog of War) and other crude cinematographic pieces that show – and denounce – the disconcerting fickleness of the condition human. In the case of Peck’s tape, the tour guide is a man who probably 95 percent of the audience will have never heard of. To begin with, he is a dead man –he passed away in 1987– to whom Samuel L. Jackson lends the sound of his unmistakable voice, and as if that were not enough, and despite being a brilliant thinker –which becomes clear just after the first five minutes of the footage – the corpus of his work ended up lost in time for reasons that we will not fully understand, so inexplicable that anyone with an affinity for conspiracy theories would say that they were disappearing on purpose.

movie I'm not your black

In any case, the recovered words of James Baldwin, which is how this man with a very powerful mind was called, in combination with the visual scheme selected by Peck – sometimes archive images of the writer himself – put together this kind of cartography with great efficiency. philosophical of blackness, specifically, of what it has meant to be a black individual in the United States since the days when slavery began.

His vision even dares to go further and turn the bell on the matter, that is, he is capable of also questioning the meaning of being white in a society where those who have another skin color are minimized, beaten, segregated. Or as Baldwin would put it in his own words: “what is at the root of the American Negro problem is the white man’s need to find a way to live with the Negro so that he can live with himself.” Himself a victim of discrimination not only because of his race but also because of his homosexuality, Baldwin lived almost a decade in France, where he studied and began to write his first texts.

When he returned to the United States in 1957, he immediately joined the fight for civil rights that was taking place throughout the country. Thanks to his talent and good sense, he soon became close and well-known among the most leading activists: Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, all of them assassinated while Baldwin wrote essays about the vision that each of they possessed and the way in which their opinion matched or differed from their own.

Several of these reflections work as a counterpoint in the film I’m not your black, which, unfortunately, and as we have already mentioned, is perceived as too current. The Ferguson riots, the rise of Donald Trump to power and other political and social phenomena that have occurred around the world – and that were thought not to return – would have to dissuade us from feeding our cinephilia only with films belonging to the field of fiction and make room for other types, even if their sighting causes us discomfort. As a certain philosopher would once say: “in life you certainly should not be a pessimist, but an optimist with information” and in that sense the film works as a favor. As a service. For this reason, his Oscar nomination, although certainly deserved, is also the least relevant when taking stock of what this film represents. Of what it means.

Original title: I Am Not Your Black
Anus: 2016
Director: Raoul Peck (Murder in Pacot)
Storyteller: Samuel L. Jackson
Release date: April 28, 2017 I Am Not Your Negro criticizes

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Carlos Jesús González Carlos Jesús (aka Chuy) is a freelance writer and journalist. Since 2006 he lives in Berlin, from where he collaborates for different media. His passions are his family, beer, writing stories and the cinema of the seventies.