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Within Our Gates

Within Our Gates (1920)

My Rating

Movie Info

This film is one of the earliest surviving examples of a film by an African American filmmaker. Sylvia Landry is engaged to a black soldier, but her rival Alma Pritchard arranges for him to catch Sylvia in an innocent but compromising situation. No longer engaged, she moves to the South to work as a teacher in an all-black school. When the school has financial problems, she returns to Boston to raise money for it. There, she is befriended by a white doctor, Dr. Vivian, who falls in love with

Unrated,

Drama, Classics

Cast

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All Critics (3) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (3) | Rotten (0)

Though the narrative structure is somewhat choppy, director Oscar Micheaux otherwise demonstrates mastery of the silent form, using supple compositions and careful editing to amplify the characters' emotions in a manner that makes sound seem superfluous.

February 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Within Our Gates is full of surprises, following a multitude of characters and plotlines without settling into predictable allegiances.

February 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

Micheaux's films are about murder, racial injustice, and lynchings.

March 27, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Within Our Gates

This is a film that will forever be famous for the fact that it is the oldest surviving film directed by an African American. It will forever be shown in retrospectives of African American cinema and as a counterpoint to D.W. Griffen?s The Birth of a Nation. It is probably destined to be more of a historical artifact than as a work of art, but is that such a bad thing? I?ve always been fascinated by history and seeing this film?s context is more than interesting enough to justify a two hour watch. But all this isn?t to say that this is a bad movie in and of itself. It?s a perfectly competent movie from a filmmaking perspective, and while the story is a bit preachy I think that?s probably fair enough, when you?re fighting against the likes of The Birth of a Nation you sort of need to shout.
August 9, 2009
Dracula787
MJS MJS

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Foreign Titles

  • Within Our Gates (1920) (DE)
  • Within Our Gates (1920) (UK)
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