THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 With Music Composed By Questlove Now On DemandSeptember 28, 2011

THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 With Music Composed By Questlove Now On Demand

IFC Films

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand and from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 (IFC Films).


Click Here For On Demand Weekly's Exclusive Interview With Director Goran Hugo Olsson

 

THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 With Music Composed By Questlove Now On Demand
By Chris Claro

 

As the 21st century plows on – it’s been a decade, folks – it becomes more and more evident that context is everything. If the Web has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is definitive anymore; the breadth of perspectives, opinions, biases, and slants is innumerable. The lens through which events are viewed is permeable, malleable, and constantly rotating. As a result, the source of perspectives has become as important as the perspectives themselves.

 

 

With THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975, director Goran Hugo Olsson mines the work of Swedish journalists who covered the US during the era referred to in the film’s title. Olsson juxtaposes the vintage – and well preserved – footage of such icons as Stokely Carmichael and Eldridge Cleaver with contemporary commentary from a combination of people who were there, such as Angela Davis and Harry Belafonte, and others, who only have a distant connection to the era, like Erykah Badu. A conventional doc in the show-and-tell mode, THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1968-1975 is nonetheless ingenious in the way Olsson shows the international ripples that America’s unrest caused through the mid-70s.

 



Charting the tumult of the era, including the rise of Black consciousness, the assassinations of RFK and MLK, and the blunting impact of drugs on militancy and activism, MIXTAPE takes a linear approach, like a print annual, to show how these very American issues were viewed through the progressive, and decidedly liberal eyes of the Swedish press. One of the most effective sequences in the film highlights the umbrage of Nixon loyalist and TV Guide publisher Walter Annenberg at what he felt was the consistently negative portrayal of America by foreign journalists, particularly those from Scandinavia.

 

 

What emerges from THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE is a portrait of the U.S. at a crucial juncture that is less hypey and hysterical than those that traditionally come from homegrown news organizations. Through Nordic eyes, America in the sixties and seventies is still in crisis, but the footage in the film seems to suggest that if we were able to calm down and breathe, things might have improved.

Though some of Olsson’s juxtapositions are literal and heavy-handed, including one that depicts the launch of an Apollo rocket as Badu talks about the shame of slavery, the found-footage feel of THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 makes it pulse with originality. The film’s commentators combine first-person recollections with long-ago idealism that reinforce the fabric of the film, which is bolstered by a soundtrack that features a thumping mix of hits from the era and original music by Questlove of the Roots.

 




THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 is a callback to a time when American unrest became an international story. With its beautifully maintained footage and singular perspective, it’s a must-watch for anyone seeking a challenging documentary that shows the US through the eyes of inquisitive, dispassionate observers.

 

DEMAND IT

 

- Chris Claro

Chris
Chris Claro is a contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. He is a former Director of Promotion for Sundance Channel and now works as a writer, producer, and media educator. He is a regular contributor to dvdverdict.com and contributor to the Eyes and Ears section of huffingtonpost.com

 

Look for THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 (IFC Films) under your cable system's Movie On Demand section.


 

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