I am not your Negro

Raoul Peck
Belgium, France, Switzerland, USA 2016 | 93 Min. | OmeU
» Trailer

In 1979, short­ly before he died, James Bald­win wrote an unfin­ished work in which he reflect­ed on his life as a homo­sex­u­al writer in the con­text of the black Civil Rights Move­ment. This 30-page work called “Remem­ber This House,” which was never pub­lished, is the basis of I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO. It begins with Baldwin’s mem­o­ries of school and a white teacher who had a great impact on him, then it moves on to his return from Europe and his life in the 1960s with the mur­ders of Medgar Evers, Mal­colm X, and Martin Luther King.

To accom­pa­ny the text, Raoul Peck cre­at­ed a bril­liant col­lage of archival photos com­bined with film and news clips. Baldwin’s public appear­ances on a TV show, at the Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty Debate 1965, and at a lec­ture after the murder of M. L. King in 1969 (doc­u­ment­ed in BALDWIN’S NIGGER by Horace Ové) are cap­ti­vat­ing and show his undog­mat­ic way of think­ing and quick-witted humor.

In his last book “The Devil Finds Work” (1976), Bald­win offers an in-depth analy­sis of how black Amer­i­cans are por­trayed in Hol­ly­wood films. Peck picks up this theme in aptly chosen scenes from movies and com­mer­cials, thus show­ing how pol­i­tics and media his­to­ry are inter­twined. He also draws par­al­lels with the ongo­ing pres­ence of white police vio­lence in sev­er­al pre­cise­ly placed ref­er­ences to Rodney King and the most recent deaths and riots – for exam­ple, in Fer­gu­son. The only actual present-day shots are of Times Square, which Peck presents as the beguil­ing essence of West­ern (white) con­sumer society.

Raoul Peck geb. 1953 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, aufgewach­sen in Zaire und in den USA. Peck studierte in Frankre­ich, in den USA, Ökonomie an der Hum­boldt Uni­ver­sität und schloss 1988 ein Film­studi­um an der DFFB in Berlin ab. Mit seinem Spielfilm L’HOMME SUR LES QUAIS präsen­tierte er 1993 den ersten Beitrag aus der Karibik im Wet­tbe­werb von Cannes. 1996 und 1997 war er Kul­tur­min­is­ter in Haiti. Seit 2010 ist er Präsi­dent der staatlichen Film­schule LA FÉMIS in Paris. Filme u.a. LUMUMBA-DEATH OF A PROPHET (1991, Doku­men­tarfilm), HAITI-LE SILENCE DES CHIENS (1994), LUMUMBA (2000, Spielfilm), PROFIT AND NOTHING BUT! (2001, Essay­film), SOMETIMES IN APRIL (2005), MOLOCH TROPICAL (2009), FATAL ASSISTANCE (2012), MEURTRE À PACOT (2014), LE JEUNE KARL MARX (2017).