Skip to Content


  • Three young men viewed from below; they look down into the camera.
  • A man holds a gun and stands next to a woman who is smiling.
  • A young man's very serious face, seen chiaroscuro lighting.
  • A young man holds up a knife and looks at his reflection.



Sunday, November 3

(1963, Shirley Clarke) Teenaged Hampton Clanton has big ambitions: to get a gun and take over Harlem gang The Royal Pythons. From Warren Miller’s novel, with Max Waldron jazz score featuring Dizzy Gillespie. 35mm. Approx. 105 min.


“This film is an electrifying revelation of the American problem: the desperate meaning of segregation that will not easily be erased even if every civil rights battle is won for the next ten years…”
– James Farmer

The Cool World… is a hauntingly bitter, savagely realistic yet not unpoetic look at a world you don’t know. You won’t be entertained by the film but you will be rewarded — if you don’t scare easily. Director Shirley Clarke… has, in every sense, authored a work of art… judged as a documentary study of the world’s foremost metropolitan jungle… The Cool World is an unqualified success.”
– Mike McGrady, Newsday

The Cool World is a loud, long and powerful cry of outrage at the world society has created for Harlem youngsters and at the human condition in the slum ghetto…”
– Judith Crist, The New York Herald Tribune

Film Forum