Zeinabu Irene Davis Cycles 1989, film still Courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archive
The upcoming Tate Modern exhibition will provide the first opportunity in the UK to explore a remarkable period of film. Often described as pioneering and visionary, the LA Rebellion films form a crucial body of work in post-war cinema. A number of African and African-American students began to forge an alternative Black cinema practice in the United States in the late 1960s. These filmmakers went on to pioneer counter-cultural and community-based approaches to filmmaking. It will feature a number of screenings of Groundbreaking films that include Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep, 1977 and Haile Gerima’s Bush Mama, 1975.
These films are unique reflections on life in the black communities of Los Angeles and are recognised as some of the most important films of the 1970s. The films also draw on the turbulent social and political climate at the time. They emerged from the context of the Black liberation and Anti-Vietnam movements. Other films featured look at re-working Hollywood conventions to reflect the black experience. This will include the subtle dramas of Julie Dash and the explosive films of Jamaa Fanaka. It will also include newly discovered masterpieces such as Larry Clark’s Passing Through, 1977, which is considered to be one of the best jazz films ever made.
The exhibition will follow the story and progression of black cinema from the early period of the 1965 uprising in Watts. Following this UCLA started a programme to support students from minority communities to enter the film school. It will follow this progression through to the breakthrough success of Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust, 1991. This was the first feature film by an African-American woman to be commercially released in the US. LA Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema was originally developed and held at UCLA Film and Television Archive, October – December 2011 as part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945-1980 and was programmed by Allyson Nadia Field, Jan-Christopher Horak, Shannon Kelley and Jacqueline Stewart.
The exhibition will run from Friday 10th April to Saturday 25th April at Tate Modern. You can find out more information about it onTate Modern, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG