THE CRY OF JAZZ (1959, dir. Ed Bland, 34 min)
THE CRY OF JAZZ is now recognized as an early and influential example of African-American independent filmmaking. Director Ed Bland, with the help of more than 60 volunteer crew members, intercuts scenes of life in Chicago’s black neighborhoods with interviews of interracial artists and intellectuals. The film argues that black life in America shares a structural identity with jazz music. With performance clips by the jazz composer, bandleader and pianist Sun Ra and his Arkestra, the film demonstrates the unifying tension between rehearsed and improvised jazz. THE CRY OF JAZZ is a historic and fascinating film that comments on racism and the appropriation of jazz by those who fail to understand its artistic and cultural origins.
MIRROR ANIMATIONS (1956, dir. Harry Smith, 4 min)
"If, (as many suppose), the unseen world is the real world and the world of our senses but the transient symbols of the eternal unseen, ad limiting ourselves to the aesthetic experience's well-known predilection for the eyes and ears, we could logically propose that any one projection of a film is variant from any other. This is particularly true of MIRROR ANIMATIONS. Although studies for this film were made in the early 1960s, the non-existence of suitable printing equipment until recently, my inability to locate the original camera footage until 1979, and particularity, the lack of an audience ready to evaluate L. Wittgenstein's "Ethics and Aesthetics Are One and the Same", in the light of H.C. Agrippa's earlier, "there is no form of madness more dangerous than that arrived at by rational means' have all contributed to delaying until now the availability of a print in the full mirror-reverse from originally envisioned. I hope you like it." - Harry Smith
SPACE IS THE PLACE (1974, dir John Coney, 85 min)
Sun Ra - space-age prophet, Pharaonic jester, shaman-philosopher and avant-jazz keyboardist/bandleader - land his spaceship in Oakland, having been presumed lost in space for a few years. With Black Power on the rise, Ra disembarks and proclaims himself "the alter-destiny." He holds a myth vs. reality rap session with black inner-city youth at a rec center, threatening "to chain you up and take you with me, like they did you in Africa" if they resist his plea to go to outer space. He duels at cards with The Overseer, a satanic overlord, with the fate of the black race at stake. Ra wins the right to a world concert, which features great performance footage of the Arkestra. Agents sent by the Overseer attempt to assassinate Ra, but he vanishes, rescues his people, and departs in his spaceship from the exploding planet Earth.
Total Run Time: 123 Minutes