Oscars museum unearths history’s forgotten African-American films

An Oscars museum exhibition will open on Sunday to highlight generations of pioneering and groundbreaking, often forgotten, black directors who shaped American cinema and sought to challenge stereotypes.

Long before Denzel Washington or spike Lee, generations of pioneering and revolutionary black directors have shaped American cinema, as AFP recalls. They have thus sought to fight against stereotypes, but have often been forgotten. The exhibition “Regeneration: Black Movie theater 1898–1971»who will start Sunday, ifattached to highlight the forgotten African-American films of history.

She will come back to the times keys of the little-known history of black American cinema. And more particularly on the hundreds of independent feature films made until the 1960s with African-American actors for an African-American audience, called “breed movies” when racial segregation was still in effect in theaters, as specified our colleagues.

The display opens with a recently rediscovered reel from 1898 showing two black vaudeville actors embracing. Among the exhibits, visitors will find jumbled up: Sydney Oscar Poitierthe first African American a win the prestigious statuette for best actor in 1964 for “The lilies of fields»the tap dances of the dancing duo the Nicholas Brothers, or even a costume worn by Sammy Davis Jr. in the movie “porgy and Bess”.

A large selection of restored works

The public will also be able to see the carefully restored images ofworks such as the musical western “Harlem we tea Meadow”the comedy-horrorMr. Washington Goes To Town”, or the gangster feature film “Dark Manhattan». The end of the exhibition focuses on the rise of “blaxploitation», genre of the 1970s which put the African-American actors on the front of the stage, launched by Melvin Van Peebles. The black director sadly passed away a few months before the exhibition kicked off, as did Sidney Poitier.

“Iwas surprised because I was not aware of the existence of these feature films before starting the preparation” of this retrospective in 2016 and to explore the archives of the Academy, detailed to AFP the curator of the exhibition, Doris Berger. “I myself demand: ‘Why don’t we know anything about this topic? We should be at running! They are truly captivating films and proof that African American artists had all types of roles and there were plenty of stories different»she added.

“Regenerationis the second major temporary exhibition at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences museum, in charge of the Oscars, which has has come under fire in recent years for its lack of diversity. Countryside #OscarsSoWhite pointed out in 2015 the lack of black artists in Oscar nominations. Since then, the institution has doubled the number of women and people from ethnic minorities among its members.

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Oscars museum unearths history’s forgotten African-American films