Upholding Black Voices: An Annotated Table of Contents | Chaz’s Journal

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Ebertfest 2018, Days 4 and 5: “Daughters of the Dust,” “The Big Lebowski,” “13th” and More by Matt Fagerholm

One of the most rapturous ovations I’ve seen in the six years I’ve been attending Ebertfest was received by Ava DuVernay, the celebrated director who flew to Champaign, Illinois, amidst a busy schedule, in order to attend the Saturday morning screening of her Oscar-nominated 2016 documentary, ‘13th.’ I immediately rose to my feet when she appeared on the stage, not just because her film is a towering achievement but because its call to action is overwhelming in its potency. […] DuVernay recalled how the reviews penned by Roger Ebert and Ebertfest guest Carrie Rickey of her 2011 feature debut, ‘I Will Follow,’ played a crucial role in launching her career. ‘Don’t knock on closed doors,’ she advised the aspiring artists in attendance. ‘Build your own house and your own door.’”

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Roger Ebert on the Films of Spike Lee by Nick Allen

It’s safe to say that one of Roger’s most unforgettable viewing experiences in his life concerned seeing “Do the Right Thing” at its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. While he wrote more about that in his Great Movies essay on the piece, he officially reviewed the movie back in June 30, 1989. Awarding the film 4 stars, the piece brought out some of Roger’s most passionate writing, especially with how the movie does not take a particular stance in its ideas of race and community, which reaches a tragic end one summer night in Bed-Stuy. Roger writes: ‘I believe that any good-hearted person, white or black, will come out of this movie with sympathy for all of the characters. Lee does not ask us to forgive them, or even to understand everything they do, but he wants us to identify with their fears and frustrations.’”

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60 Minutes on: “The Hate U Give” by Matt Zoller Seitz

The film is a primer on systemic racism in the United States, aimed at young people as well as any older relatives who might not have gotten the memo. It embraces the idea that riots are the language of the unheard, inevitable and necessary if the people are being lied to, silenced, or micromanaged by authorities. A climactic clash between heavily armored police and anti-police brutality protesters in their street clothes is shot to evoke news coverage of Ferguson, but also images of sadly similar incidents dating back to the origins of visual media. It’s also about how slavery and lynching continued in the United Staes under different labels. Starr’s Instagram page juxtaposes recent victims of police brutality with a graphic closeup of Emmett Till’s disfigured face, flat-out telling us that when American police kill unarmed black men for no good reason, they’re committing acts of racist, vigilante terror, however strenuously they refuse to call them that.”

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