WITHIN OUR GATES
Tuesday, January 28
♪ Live piano accompaniment by Steve Sterner
(1920, Oscar Micheaux) “Oscar Micheaux’s bold, forceful melodrama—the oldest surviving feature by a black American director—unfolds the vast political dimensions of intimate romantic crises. Evelyn Preer stars as Sylvia Landry, a young black woman in a Northern town, who suffers a broken engagement. With a brisk and sharp-edged style, Micheaux sketches a wide view of black society, depicting an engineer with an international career, a private eye with influential friends, a predatory gangster, devoted educators—and the harrowing ambient violence of Jim Crow, which he shows unsparingly and gruesomely. Micheaux’s narrative manner is as daring as his subject matter, with flashbacks and interpolations amplifying the story; a remarkable twist regarding Sylvia’s identity, slipped in at the end, opens up a nearly hallucinatory historical vortex.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker. With Flo Clements. 35mm print courtesy Library of Congress. Approx. 79 min.
Plus St. Louis Blues (1929) with Bessie Smith (her only film appearance), Isabel Washington. DCP. Approx. 16 min.