Samuel Jackson voices novelist James Baldwin’s words in this documentary based on the writer’s ‘Remember This House’, unfinished when he died in 1987. The film chronicles Baldwin’s accounts of his friends in the Civil Rights movement, including Dr Martin Luther King, Malcom X and Medgar Evers. With 1960s archive footage through to the current Black Lives Matter movement, a picture of a still racially divided America emerges. With appearances by Harry Belafonte, Marlon Brando and George W Bush, as well as Baldwin who once said ‘the story of the Negro in America is the story of America’. “[Baldwin] is an artist, a bit of a dandy who left Harlem to live in Paris. He comes at social and political issues from a poet’s perspective. Peck has done him an enormous service by turning his 30,000-word unfinished manuscript into a feature documentary.” (Geoffrey Macnab, independent.co.uk)
Dir: Raoul Peck 93mins Swi/Fr/US/Be 2016
When he died in 1987, James Baldwin, the visionary black American novelist and activist, had completed only thirty pages of Remember this House which he intended to be a revolutionary personal account of the lives and subsequent assassinations of three close friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
The film, narrated by Samuel L Jackson, is built around Baldwin’s own words, with documentary and news footage, video photos, news clippings and on-screen text. As well as providing a focus for the narrative of American dis-unifying race relations in the 1960s, the film documents Baldwin’s own conflicted relationships – his reaction to the Civil Rights movement and the stratagems he was forced to employ in his meetings with his first serious girlfriend, who was white.
“[…] Peck strings a series of observations, sly asides […] words of wisdom, and tries to reconcile the difference between what the United States says it stands for and what it actually does” Roger Ebert, rogerebert.com
“I Am Not Your Negro is important. And urgent. And almost certainly unlikely to be seen by the people who would benefit from it most” Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic
Narrator – Samuel L. Jackson
James Baldwin – Himself
Martin Luther King Jr. – Himself
Malcolm X – Himself
Robert F. Kennedy – Himself
Medcar Evers – Himself
Director -Raoul Peck
Producer – Raoul Peck et al
Writer – James Baldwin
Scenario – Raoul Peck
Original Music -Alexei Aigui
- Thank you for showing this film
- A superbly well made documentary – a great way of presenting Baldwin’s story. Is life in America a Disney fantasy?
- A reminder of how slow progress has been 240 years after the movement to abolish slavery began
- A sobering and thought provoking experience that addressed, without holding back, the issues Baldwin raised in his work. Powerful stuff
- Very powerful. The interspersing of contemporary 21st-century footage made it all very vivid and relevant
- Power without glory!
- A poetic and political film. Baldwin and Raoul Peck are both poets. Poetry that is easy is either doggerel or pointless: this poetry was challenging – and all the better for it!
- A hard watch but I’m glad I’ve seen it
- This should be compulsory viewing [for whom?] but subtitles in places would have helped
- Compelling, powerful, worrying
- Essential looking back – thought provoking
- Powerful – very well documented. It stated the problem but how much can it solve? I didn’t like the initial and final pop music
- Much better than I thought it would be
- A pessimistic film ….