A landmark of American cinema, this uniquely truthful depiction of black life in early 1960s Alabama rightly won great acclaim at festivals internationally. Though it then sank into relative obscurity, a recent restoration by the Library of Congress has again made its many virtues gloriously apparent. Set against the stirrings of the civil rights movement and a rising wave of burgeoning Black pride, it tells the story of Duff (Ivan Dixon), a railroad section hand who is forced to confront racial prejudice and self-denial when he falls in love with Josie, an educated preacher's daughter. Small wonder this was reputedly Malcolm X's favourite film; terrific performances by the mostly African American cast (jazz great Abbey Lincoln is especially memorable as the strong-willed Josie), eloquent camerawork by Roemer's writing partner Robert M Young, and a matchless soundtrack of Motown tunes make for understated but powerful drama.
Screening with short film The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement (Dirs: Gail Dolgin/Robin Fryday), about an African American barber in Birmingham, Alabama who experiences the fulfilment of an unimaginable dream: the election of the first African American president.
With an introduction by broadcaster and commentator Roger Griffith (My American Odyssey: From the Windrush to the White House).