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The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2011)

tomatometer

88

Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.

audience

86

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 1,177

My Rating

Movie Info

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 mobilizes a treasure trove of 16mm material shot by Swedish journalists who came to the US drawn by stories of urban unrest and revolution. Gaining access to many of the leaders of the Black Power Movement-Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis and Eldridge Cleaver among them-the filmmakers captured them in intimate moments and remarkably unguarded interviews. Thirty years later, this lush collection was found languishing in the basement of Swedish

Unrated,

Documentary

,

Goran Olsson

Dec 13, 2011

$0.3M

IFC Films - Official Site External Icon

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September 8, 2011:
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All Critics (46) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (4)

Broken into nine chapters -- one for each year -- the documentary isn't a rigorous work but a felt piece of vital, if flawed, art.

November 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's thrilling to hear from unrepentant revolutionaries such as Angela Davis and amusing to hear from their bell-bottomed white lawyers.

October 28, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 is not your standard documentary dealing with racism in America.

October 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
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The film is testament to the power of archival legwork in documentary-filmmaking.

October 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

From the fly-on-the-wall, cinéma-vérité style of the '60s to a more aggressive, advocacy approach in the mid-'70s, "Mixtape" is a wide slice of nonfiction film history.

October 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A film that suffers from a surfeit of credulity.

September 30, 2011 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Olsson includes material that might typically have been considered outtakes and lets clips play at length, reinforcing an impression of intimacy with the participants in the scene.

November 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

The 'mixtape' designation is apt. This episodic movie doesn't really come together, but its highlights make it worthwhile. (Eldridge Cleaver earns laughs when he names 'the three pigs' running for president: 'Oink Nixon, Oink Humphrey, and Oink Wallace.')

January 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Offers some amazing footage and a surprisingly cohesive narrative, considering that this was old film stock newly discovered and reassembled by contemporary Swedish filmmakers.

January 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

The result is a film that doesn't chart the rise and fall of the black power movement, and viewers unfamiliar with civil rights history will likely be lost. But it does give insight into the frustration and anger that sparked the movement.

December 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

...we see our parents and ourselves refracted through a cool if subjective lens, and it's easy to wonder exactly how we made it.

November 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

What is most impressive about the film is that it manages to put human faces -- not just caricatures -- on the key figures of the movement.

November 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

It may not add up to a narrative, but it's a fascinating compilation -- a mixtape you may want to hear more than once.

October 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

"Mixtape" is about a foreign country. And the foreign country is ours.

October 27, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Impressively made documentary that paints a fascinating portrait of an important period in American history, not least because the perspective stands in stark contrast to the American media's coverage of the same events at the time.

October 25, 2011 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

This fascinating documentary brings together material shot by Swedish documentarists and TV journalists dealing with the African American civil rights movement...

October 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

The timing of this release is more than perfect. And the story behind the film is nearly as interesting as the stories it tells.

October 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

It is not a comprehensive history but the footage is an extraordinarily potent reminder that the stand taken by black people eventually bore fruit.

October 21, 2011 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Interesting stuff, though it sometimes looks like a block of unedited raw material.

October 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

Blazing interviews with Angela Davis and Stokely Carmichael supply stinging and unforgettable rhetoric: it simply can't fail with footage this wild.

October 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Like the era it represents, there are highs and lows.

October 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Like most mix-tapes, offers crackling content even when its contexts aren't clear.

October 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Audience Reviews for The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

This documentary is essential viewing for anyone interested in modern American history, especially where African American studies are concerned. What we get here is a compilation of hours and hours of footage shot by a group of Swedish new reporters who were fascinated by the Black Power movement, and traveled all over the U.S. and other places to document what was going on.

Years later the footage was found, compiled together, and commentary by contemporary individuals mostly artists, musicians, and filmmakers) influenced by the era was added in. There's also commentary from professors as well as some key players from the movement (Angela Davis, Bobby Seale, et al) who at the time of release, were still around to reflect on the times.

This is a fascinating and absorbing documentary, It doesn't tell the complete story, but then again, the reporters weren't trying to. They just wanted to capture the era from a unique outsider perspective, and show their take on these important and incendiary events. That aspect alone makes this worth checking out. Plus, all of this footage was previously unreleased, so we get to see some really powerful and eye opening stuff at times. One of my personal favorite parts was the emotional interview Angela Davis gave from her prison cell. It's a chilling and moving moment.

The film does have a clear bias that shows which side is favored, but it's not a complete propaganda piece, or entirely unbalanced. It does help if you come into this with some prior knowledge, but I think you might still be able to appreciate it if your knowledge of the people, places, and events are limited.

I'm sure you could argue just how important this film is, and how valuable the contents are beyond the cursory, "look at this neat footage", but in the end, think this is some remarkable and useful material. Granted, I'm already interested, so I found it fascinating, but one can't deny that the Black Power movement was a vital part of modern American history.
October 10, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

"The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975" is a fascinating documentary, with the help of some commentary from the present day, that contains footage shot by Swedish broadcast crews of interviews and speeches by black leaders with highlights including Stokely Carmichael interviewing his mother, Eldridge Cleaver in exile in Algiers, Angela Davis in a jail cell on trumped up charges, and one great poem I wish I could remember. Of similar interest is interviews with anonymous people on the street, creating a sense of what it was like to live at the time and insights into the Black Panther Party. All of which forms a narrative of the black power movement from hope to resistance to persecution to repression to defeat, symbolized in epidemic drug abuse. As Stokely Carmichael said, Dr. King's message of nonviolence is all well and good, assuming the people in power have a conscience.

On a personal level, what's sad for me is again looking to another country to learn about the history of the one where I live. Apparently in Sweden, they have no problem with those willing to think outside of the box on the left where the word radical is not a dirty word. On a less radical note, there is footage of Dr. King and Harry Belafonte being greeted by the King of Sweden. And then there is the Prime Minister of Sweden creating an international incident by comparing the bombing of Hanoi to Nazi war atrocities which while an exaggeration is still a war crime. So, Sweden gets accused of broadcasting anti-American propaganda by TV Guide, which if they had any knowledge of the publication they were dealing with, they would not be able to stop laughing.
September 25, 2011
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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