'It is only by presenting those portions of the race portrayed in my pictures, in the light and background of their true state, that we can raise our people to greater heights.' Oscar Micheaux
To coincide with 'My Life as I Live It: First Peoples and Black Cinema', a special live music and film program celebrating the work of Oscar Micheaux (1884 - 1951), the first major African American filmmaker and the most prominent producer of 'race films' in the United States.
Micheaux made 44 films between 1919 and 1948 that blended drama with biting social commentary about race relations, including the first feature film to be directed by an African American. Targeting black audiences, Micheaux's films worked against the negative stereotypes of African Americans pervading mainstream cinema at the time. His landmark silent film Within Our Gates 1920 in particular attacked the acute racism depicted in D W Griffith's The Birth of a Nation 1915.
This program includes the three silent and four sound films still known to be in existence. The silent films will be presented with live piano accompaniment by acclaimed Berlin-based composer and singer-songwriter Paul Hankinson who has been commissioned to produce new scores.
QAGOMA acknowledges the generous assistance of the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; Library of Congress, Washington, DC; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY. 'The Symbol of the Unconquered' 1920 was preserved by The Museum of Modern Art with support from the Celeste Bartos Fund for Film Preservation. Program curated by José Da Silva, Australian Cinémathèque.
List of Works
Within Our Gates 1920 | Director: Oscar Micheaux
The Symbol of the Unconquered 1920 | Director: Oscar Micheaux
Body and Soul 1925 | Director: Oscar Micheaux
The Dark Town Revue 1931 | Director: Oscar Micheaux
The Exile 1931 | Director: Oscar Micheaux
Veiled Aristocrats 1932 (incomplete) | Director: Oscar Micheaux
Birthright 1939 (incomplete) | Director: Oscar Micheaux
Lem Hawkins' Confession aka Murder in Harlem 1935 | Director: Oscar Micheaux