Baldwin100-Watches Films

Baldwin100 Film Resources have been curated specifically for George Mason but can be duplicated by other universities. A few of these films are easily available to view online through paid streaming services but many are not. Scroll down for discussion points created by Dr. Keith Clark to accompany the "abroad series." 

George Mason Libraries have the following films in our databases and we have Public Performance Rights so they can be shown on campus if there is no admission charged. Please stay tuned for dates when we will have a chance to watch these films together.

James Baldwin: Speech on Civil Rights
1968, 18 minutes

  http://mutex.gmu.edu/login?url=https://video.alexanderstreet.com/p/A6KO9Ezr7

“This video shows James Baldwin giving a speech on civil rights to a group of students in London.”

James Baldwin - The Dream Unrealized
2020, 35 minutes


“Hub Theatre Group introduces “The Dream Unrealized”: the “James Baldwin Project,” a theatrical video project utilizing the text of Baldwin’s arguments and the experiences of young African Americans...”

http://mutex.gmu.edu/login?url=https://video.alexanderstreet.com/p/79VJWm8oQ

James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket
1990, 87 minutes


“James Baldwin (1924-1987) was at once a major twentieth-century American author, a Civil Rights activist, and, for two crucial decades, a prophetic voice calling Americans, Black and white, to confront...”

http://mutex.gmu.edu/login?url=https://video.alexanderstreet.com/p/vQLJ9BQ7m

http://mutex.gmu.edu/login?url=https://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=96306&xtid=49726

I am not your Negro 
2016, 94 minutes

https://wrlc-gm.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01WRLC_GML/1giah39/alma9947150980304105

“Using James Baldwin's unfinished final manuscript, Remember This House, this documentary follows the lives and successive assassinations of three of the author's friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., delving into the legacy of these iconic figures and narrating historic events using Baldwin's original words and a flood of rich archival material. An up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, this film is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of BlackLivesMatter.”

 

James Baldwin Abroad series includes 3 films:

James Baldwin: From Another Place
 1973, 12 minutes

“Sedat Pakay was a Turkish photographer and filmmaker who specialized in portraits of artists, including Andy Warhol, Gordon Parks, Mark Rothko, and many others. Shot in Istanbul - where Baldwin lived off and on throughout the 1960s - James Baldwin: From Another Place finds the author in a reflective mood, discussing his work, sexuality, and complex feelings about the United States. Preserved by the Yale Film Archive with support from the National Film Preservation Foundation.”

Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris
1970, 26 minutes

“Returning to Paris, where he first moved (or escaped to) in 1948, James Baldwin visits the Place de la Bastille in the company of white British filmmaker Terence Dixon to discuss the contradictory manner in which revolutions (French, Colonial, and Black American) are portrayed and considered. Sparring verbally with Dixon - to whom he could issue a knockout intellectual blow at any moment - Baldwin once again proves himself to be the great thinker of modern times. Picture and audio restoration by Mark Rance, Watchmaker Films, London.”

Baldwin's N***** 
1968, 46 minutes

“In this riveting short documentary by pioneering Trinidadian-British filmmaker Horace Ové, James Baldwin and comedian-activist Dick Gregory speak to a group of radical West Indian students in London about everything from the state of the civil rights movement to the perils of false consciousness. The provocative title, drawn from Baldwin’s words, refers to one of the painful realities of Black American identity: that even his name conjures a history of slavery. Restoration courtesy of the British Film Institute.”

 
Note of thanks and acknowledgement:

These film resources are prepared by: Cindy Badilla-Melendez, GMU’s Music, Films Studies, and Media Librarian. 

Initiative support and coordination: Anne Osterman, GMU Dean of Libraries and University Librarian.

 

Discussion points created by Dr. Keith Clark

to accompany "the abroad series."

 

Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris (1970; Director: Terence Dixon)

1) “I was in a desperate situation to come so far with only 40 dollars.”

2) The role of the filmmakers/director in the film itself

3) “We had a system, a scheme; you obviously weren’t sympathetic to it”/ “Adversarial” “Hostile”

4) “I’m a Black man in the middle of the century, and I speak for that. I’m not all that you think I am.”

5) When does JB ultimately decide to “cooperate”—at which “point”?

6) The scene in Baldwin mentor/friend Beauford Delaney’s studio, including several students and Baldwin’s brother, David Baldwin

·       “I know that I love you.”

·       Citizenship, Race, and (un)Belonging: “I left my country because I knew I was going to be murdered there.”

7) “I will not be a White American…I wouldn’t like to live with all those lies”

8) JB Solo: the scene following the encounter at Delaney’s studio

·       The L-Word: 

Dixon’s claim that “Everyone’s been in love” and Baldwin’s rejoinder: “Have they? You can’t prove it to me by the evidence.”

JB’s response to the director’s query about why Baldwin “takes a long time between novels: “I’m working between assassinations. They’re killing my friends.”

 ·      “Love has never been a popular movement.”

9) The film’s last line: “I’m perfectly happy and, hard as it sounds, relatively free”

 

James Baldwin: From Another Place (1973; Director: Sedat Pakay)

1) Jimmy’s Room: The film’s opening scene

2) The film’s form: Baldwin’s voiceover as soundtrack to his various excursions

3) “One sees it [America] better from another place, from another country; you can make comparisons which you aren’t able to make in America”

4) “I never considered myself to be a leader…I’m a kind of witness, I suppose. My weapon is my typewriter, my pen.”

5) JB in public, amongst the city’s citizens (strolling through the bazar, et al.) (perusing books at the outdoor bookseller, he selects, Kara Yabanci [Dark Stranger, the Turkish title of Another Country]

6) JB’s response to an unrecorded off-air question: 

“I resent that question. What goes on in anyone’s bedroom is their business, but in my case it’s a big issue for a lot of people. I have a Puritan thing about privacy and a certain kind of pride; the life I live is very different from the one people have imagined.”

7) The L-word (again)

·       “I can’t deny a certain [pause] power that I’ve had to deal with, that has dealt with me, which is called love.” 

·       “I’ve loved a few men; I’ve loved a few women. Love comes in some strange packages; it comes as it comes.”

8) “American men are paranoic on the subject of homosexuality. It’s been here, in the world, for thousands of years.”

9) Istanbul by Boat

 

Baldwin’s N***** (1968, Director: Horace Ové, also featuring comedian/activist/weight-loss guru Dick Gregory)

1) Baldwin’s opening anecdote, where he recalls a question from a West Indian working in London--“Where he’s from”-- and the man’s frustrations with JB’s responses (e.g., “Harlem, mother from Maryland, my father from New Orleans,” etc.)

2) Baldwin’s “point of entry” in America: “a bill of sale”

3) “Whether I like it or not, I’m an American”

4) Baldwin’s “If I discover” sermonette: “when you see the corpses of your brothers and sisters pile up around you; if I discover that I’ve been lied to all of my life, my mother and father lived to be bred and bought and sold like a mule…”

5) According to JB, what action by an African American “attacks the entire power structure of the Western world”?

6) Baldwin’s (re)historicizing of American slavery

7) From Saigon to Detroit: Baldwin’s (alternative) interpretation of the Vietnam War (consider also this statement made by one America’s most famous athletes in 1967: “I ain’t got no quarrel with the Vietcong…No Vietcong ever called me a N*****”)

8) JB (re)interpretation of American history: his use of metaphors of fratricide and domesticity

9) And then this assertion: “I’m not talking about race—I don’t believe in color”. Hunh?

JB responds to questions from the audience of West Indian students in London:

10) The first impassioned query/accusation and JB’s equally impassioned response

11) JB on the potency of “language” and “vocabulary”

12) JB’s response to a second question on how he “envisions the Black men’s personality in 50 years”

·      the “vigor, vitality of Black life that doesn’t come from [he points to his head]”

·      The “African personality not so compartmentalized; the European personality is terribly worried about the flesh, that the senses are nearly pathologized.”

·      “In America I am flesh, and Christians have to mortify the flesh; the body should be celebrated…human energy is coming back.”

13) The question from a student who claims that in one of Baldwin’s writings he was “contemptuous” of Blacks tracing their African roots

14) The query from a Jamaican student on the differences between how African Americans and West Indians perceive the “colour problem”

15) “Black Power” and “White Power”

16) Question from a White(?) West Indian on the role of the “White Liberal” in “Black Power”/JB’s comparisons between White liberals and White missionaries; “White liberals must face that they’ve suffered from their color, as have Blacks have but [Blacks] in a much more brutal context”/White liberal “innocence” as “menace”

17) The student audience’s responses to JB throughout this film: expressions, gestures

18) Dick Gregory Speaks:

·      “All of us is put in the same trick.”

·      “Black Liberals”

·      Blacks and/in the American military

·      “White is not a color: it’s an attitude; Black is not a color: it’s an attitude.”

·      “I got a brilliant education tonight; I didn’t know you was such a groovy speaker.”

AND FINALLY, THIS: the difference between our presentation of the film’s title and its director’s title—how we refer to the film versus how it was originally promoted.