image from Harriet
In honor of Black History Month, Cornell Cinema presents an eclectic series of classic documentaries and contemporary features. In Harriet, Cynthia Erivo gives a powerful performance as Harriet Tubman, the American freedom fighter who escaped from slavery and then lead hundreds of other slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad. Harriet will be followed by a new digital restoration of Say Amen, Somebody, one of the most acclaimed music documentaries of all time. George T. Nierenberg's exuberant, funny, and deeply moving celebration of 20th-century American gospel music, which film critic Roger Ebert described as "One of the most joyful movies I've ever seen,” will be preceded by a brief performance by the Baraka Kwa Wimbo Gospel Ensemble, a student group at Cornell.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the killing of Black Panther Fred Hampton, who was murdered in his Chicago home on December 4, 1969, Cornell Cinema will present a new digital version of The Murder of Fred Hampton, a procedural documentary that acts as a righteous inquest into the circumstances of his death. The late and beloved French filmmaker Agnès Varda made the short documentary Black Panthers, about a demonstration against the imprisonment of Black Panthers cofounder Huey P. Newton, that took place in Oakland, California in 1968, and it will be shown as part of our Agnès Varda series. Although not officially part of this series, viewers may also be interested in the new feature biopic Seberg, starring Kristen Stewart as actress Jean Seberg, who was a supporter of the Black Panther Party and other civil rights groups. As such, she became a target of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, whose surveillance and harassment of the star led to her untimely death at the age of 40.