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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts and the black revolution

Neal, Larry
Notes and discussion: film and the black cultural revolution,   pp. 348-[351] PDF (3.4 MB)

Page 350

350      Instead of employing a narrative device,
we intend to watch events unfold
naturally. This approach poses problems
of tone and texture and it influences
the quality of the transitions from
scene to scene.
All films previous to this one have
failed to incorporate the unique and
varied styles of Afro-American life.
Notable exceptions are Cool World, Black
Orpheus, and Nothing But A Man.
But even these did not fully exploit
the Black man's vision of the world
because the directors did not understand
that the writing and the camera must
be integral to the subject matter
being examined. The eye of the camera,
or the mind informing it, must be
intimately acquainted with the subjects
of the film. The camera is merely
an object, but the director's
sensibilities are an important factor
in what and how the camera sees.
Because of racism, very few white
directors and camera men have
learned to see Black people. Hence,
most films that deal with Afro-American
life appear unnatural; the chararters
never seem whole. They are figments
of some white man's imagination.
This is why a film about black people
must be informed with a black aesthetic-
the pulsing rhythms of contemporary
blues, the shattering sounds of John
Coltrane and Sun Ra. The film must be
infused with a sense of soul, the
entire world-view of the film must be
black. Only a film diffused with these
elements would present a revolutionary
response to the cultural imperialism
of the white communications media
and bring a new set of creative
ideas into American cultural expression.
Black America must begin to develop
an independent cultural apparatus.
It must teach its young people how to
use film as a means of propagating
ideas and fostering group consciousness.
It is folly to expect anyone else to
give them full support. The power and
the beauty of Afro-American culture
have never been fully exploited,
especially in the interests of B'ack
America. It is the Black creative film
maker's job to document and express the
point-of-view of Black America. Film
is one of the most powerful medias of
communication. The failure of Black
artists to develop an independent
cultural apparatus in this sector has
furthered the alienation between the
Black Community and the Black creative
artist. This alienation can only lead
to a negative projection of Afro-American
life. The Black artist must understand
this. There are Black people. There
are Black attitudes about the nature
of the world. We must present our
people and their myriad points-of-view
in the most truthful and the most
dynamic manner possible.

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