End of the World Film Club #5: The Black Power Mix Tape 1967 – 1975


“We have to document our history; if we’re gonna tell the story, let’s tell the story right.” Join us for our next End of the World Film Club, in which we turn our attention to all too relevant The Black Power Mix Tape 1967 – 1975…

This film club, as you may be aware, was set up as a means of giving people (us, mostly) a way of watching and experiencing cinema in a kind of communal way during lockdown. At least insofar as that is possible over Twitter. This week’s film was all set to be chosen from a list of blockbusters and/or comedies, something to help lift spirits in the uncertain world of lockdown limbo. But, as the events of the past days have shown, mere escapism – while we all deserve and need it from time to time – isn’t going to cut it right now.

It quickly became obvious that, instead, this week we should dedicate #endoftheworldfilmclub to filmmakers and/or films whose focus foregrounds or relates to poc. It also became obvious, almost as quickly, that this sadly narrowed the field, starkly pointing to the continuing imbalance of representation (and widespread availability). When we’ve selected films for our poll every other week, it’s so far been easy, with a range of options that amounts to an embarrassment of riches – so much so that Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane didn’t make the cut recently. This time, however, those that sprang immediately to mind – Do The Right Thing, Get Out, If Beale Street Could Talk, etc. – were only available as rentals.

As we have so far chosen films that are free to view (on BBC iPlayer, All4, and in the public domain), keeping things as open as possible, we didn’t want to change things now. But we did decide to relax things a little and open up to streaming services offering a free trial period. We plumped for: Mati Diop’s debut feature, Atlantics (2019), simultaneously a love story and a ghost story, it won the Grand Prix at Cannes; The Black Power Mix Tape 1967–1975 (2011), a ‘mosaic of images, music, and narration’ as told from an outsider’s perspective (it’s made by Swedish filmmakers); and, last but not least, 2019 Ella Fitzgerald doc, Just One of Those Things.

Fittingly, I think, with almost 50% of the vote, The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975 won out. Shot for Swedish TV, it charts the Black Power movement over the better part of a tumultuous decade. Created in 2011 after the raw footage was rediscovered in a TV station basement and pieced together by director Göran Olsson, the film is an invaluable montage featuring key figures such as Stokely Carmichael, Angela Davis, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. A portrait of the America of then, it remains sadly relevant today. But as events unfold in the US, here, and elsewhere, it makes for a poignant, powerful statement that things must (and perhaps can) change this time.

What the critics said:

“[A] document of this turbulent, extremely violent transitional moment in American race history.”

Greg Tate, Sight & Sound

“Restores a complex human dimension to the racial history of the era.”

A.O. Scott, The New York Times

End of the World Film Club #5: The Black Power Mix Tape 1967 – 1975

Watch The Black Power Mix Tape 1967 – 1975 on MUBI, and join us on Twitter to discuss, Friday 12 June, 7-8pm

The End of the World Film Club has watched:

Tehran Taboo

The Conversation

Assault on Precinct 13

A Matter of Life and Death

Our poll to select the next film club film will take place Wednesday 17 June

Posted on 07/06/2020 by thedoublenegative