I Am Not Your Negro (2017)
Critic Consensus: I Am Not Your Negro offers an incendiary snapshot of James Baldwin's crucial observations on American race relations -- and a sobering reminder of how far we've yet to go.
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Critic Reviews for I Am Not Your Negro
It's an astonishing, often challenging and sharp examination of race in the United States, confronting how the country's history repeats and how Baldwin insisted we must remember, relentlessly question, remain conscientious and resist.
The result - hard-hitting and insightful - is a reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
"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.
Baldwin's words, Jackson's reading and Peck's elegant and scorching composition will resonate for years to come.
An enormously resonant work of cultural history that should do much to renew attention to the lonely, prophetic voice of James Baldwin.
Audience Reviews for I Am Not Your Negro
Baldwin's always been a figure of fascination for me and Peck's intriguing portrait only deepens my appreciation of the man. That so much of what he had to say is still relevant speaks to this country's deep failings.
The fact that this unmissable documentary has been somehow met with strong opposition from a segment of the public is symptomatic evidence of its importance as an objective examination that should make us seriously reflect on the very roots of racism in America.
James Baldwin lived a difficult and amazing life. Growing up poor in Harlem, he managed to crawl out from under the burden of a segregated America to achieve a place as one of the heroes of its betterment. However, as he explains in Raoul Peck's newest documentary "I Am Not Your Negro", growing up a Black child in John Wayne's America made him the villain by default. Just the same as the Native Americans that Wayne would kill and admonish in films, the Black man was the unwanted backbone of the country. As Baldwin said, the history of Blacks in America IS the history of America, and history, as this timely documentary shows, continually repeats itself. Based on the notes to his final, incomplete book "Remember this House", the film recounts in Baldwin's own words (narrated quietly by Samuel L. Jackson) his recollection of the lives and movements of Medgar Evers, Malcom X, and Martin Luther King Jr. It is a moving and beautiful film, but more than just commemorating their lives, Baldwin strikes at the core of race relations in the in the US. Ignorance, or an unwillingness to look at that which we cannot accept is at the heart of our dire culture, and it is codified through fear. It's fear of the other and fear of ourselves. The only problem I can see with the film is that you don't have to tell me or people like me this. People like me go see "Moonlight", "Fences", "Get Out" and "I Am Not Your Negro". Sure, we should be reminded of these truths often, but until movies like this are interjected into NASCAR races and between episodes of "Swamp People" the people who need to hear it the most will continue to keep their heads in the sand.
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