WBEZ | Images, Movies and Race http://www.wbez.org/series/images-movies-and-race Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Africa-themed films like 'Hotel Rwanda' fail to give full historical context http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/africa-themed-films-hotel-rwanda-fail-give-full-historical-context-101097 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/hotel%20rwanda%20AP.jpg" title="From right: Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo and Antonio David Lyons star as Paul, Tatiana, and Thomas in United Artists' drama ‘Hotel Rwanda.’ (PRNewsFoto/SHOWTIME,Bid Alsbirk)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F53938961&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Many film scholars and critics observe that in the post-apartheid era, Hollywood&#39;s portrayal of Africa and Africans generally miss the mark, foregoing opportunities to teach us profound truths about the African continent and its people &mdash; all for the sake of popularity and profit.&nbsp;Here, one of those critics,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.joyceash.com/2008/09/dr-joyce-ashunt.html">Joyce Ashuntantang,&nbsp;</a>looks at one prime example: How the film&nbsp;</em>Hotel Rwanda<em>&nbsp;ignored complexity and context in dealing with the 1994 Rwandan Genocide:</em></p><div class="image-insert-image ">In recent years, Hollywood has produced films dubbed &ldquo;human rights&rdquo; films, like <em>Hotel Rwanda</em> (2004), <em>The Constant Gardener</em> (2005), <em>Blood Diamond</em> (2006), and <em>Catch a Fire</em> (2006). The appellation &ldquo;human rights film&rdquo; itself is debatable, since Hollywood movies must negotiate between presumed audience preferences and box office figures, Factors that in turn may trump the very rights the films are meant to uphold.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Despite <em>Hotel Rwanda&rsquo;s</em> success in sparking debate about the politics of international human rights and the contradictions of national governments that claim to value those rights, Terry George&rsquo;s representation of human rights in the film bears the marks of what is wrong not only with the human rights movement itself, but the way human rights are constructed and disseminated with reference to Africa. These include: the projection of the savage/victim/savior dialectic; the danger of assigning labels to victims and perpetrators; ignoring historical and cultural contexts of human rights abuses; and downplaying the severity of genocide in order to obtain maximum entertainment value for the film. &nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Sometimes in April.jpg" style="height: 200px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="Actor Idris Elba appears in a scene from the HBO film ‘Sometimes in April,’ which Ashuntantang considers a more robust and objective re-telling of the Rwandan Genocide. (AP/HBO)" />In <em>Hotel Rwanda</em>, the Tutsis are represented as victims and the Hutus as savages. Simplistically framing the conflict along the lines of &ldquo;good guys/bad guys&rdquo; does not help the cause of human rights, but refuels anger, reinforces polarizing dichotomies, and makes conflict-resolution difficult. In the midst of this victim/savage dichotomy is the metaphor of the savior compelled to come and rescue the victims. <em>Hotel Rwanda</em> castigates the non-arrival of the savior, but nonetheless the savior image is constructed through the western journalists and United Nations general, played by Nick Nolte.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Lack of complexity in certain aspects of the film grossly distorts the context &mdash; essential to understanding the genocide. Terry George provides short, vague snippets of the socio-politico context of the genocide between &ldquo;suspenseful&quot; scenes of Paul Rusesabagina&#39;s many attempts to stop the &ldquo;wild&rdquo; Hutu interahamwe from gaining access to the Hotel Des Mille Collines. George&rsquo;s choice of Rusesabagina as hero and the representation of one individual&rsquo;s story of perseverance, unintentionally undermine the struggle of an entire nation. Not centralizing the historical context of the genocide in the film does a disservice to the audience.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Hotel Rwanda</em> manipulates the cinema medium, transforms the image of the genocide to a Hollywood product, and creates the illusion that this medium can successfully interpret the genocide to the world. Though fictionalized, <em>Hotel Rwanda</em> is based on a true and graphically disturbing story. As a Hollywood film, it reaches millions of people who will arguably view the film as their historical source of record on this genocide. One cannot deny that the question of accuracy will always plague any film that purports to be historical, but a film paraded as a human rights film must be sensitive to facts, for by not representing the facts objectively, the film perpetrates anger and resentment.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>A good film alternative:</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">A film that more objectively represents the Rwandan Genocide is Raoul Peck&rsquo;s <em>Sometimes in April. </em>Peck&rsquo;s film takes colonialism into account in his re-telling of the Genocide. He also refrains from demonizing any groups of people.</div><p><br /><em>Joyce Ashuntantang&nbsp;is a professional actress and assistant professor of English/Literature at Hillyer College-University of Hartford, and an associate to the UNESCO Chair and Institute for comparative Human Rights at the University of Connecticut. She&nbsp;contributed to the forthcoming&nbsp;MaryEllen Higgins-edited volume&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ohioswallow.com/book/Hollywood%E2%80%99s+Africa++after+1994">Hollywood&#39;s Africa After 1994</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p><em>This story is part of Worldview&#39;s occasional series&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/images-movies-and-race">Images, Movies and Race</a>, produced in conjunction with WBEZ&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/">Race: Out Loud</a>&nbsp;series. Read more on film contributor Milos Stehlik&#39;s conversations with filmmaker <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/godmilow-western-films-about-africa-only-glorify-west-101129">Jill Godmilow</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;</em><em>author/scholar&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/hollywoods-representation-post-apartheid-africa-101126">MaryEllen Higgins</a><strong>&nbsp;</strong></em><em>about how modern Hollywood films on Africa hide racist overtones within heroic, feel-good stories.</em><em>&nbsp;</em></p></p> Tue, 24 Jul 2012 09:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/africa-themed-films-hotel-rwanda-fail-give-full-historical-context-101097 Ousmane Sembene: From seasick fisherman to founder of African cinema http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/ousmane-sembene-seasick-fisherman-founder-african-cinema-101088 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Sembene%20Ousmane_0.jpg" style="width: 242px; height: 347px; float: left; " title="Senegalese filmmaker Sembene Ousmane, seen in this undated photo provided by Sembene biographer Samba Gadjigo. He’s credited with giving birth to African cinema. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Samba Gadjigo)" /></div><p>Son of a fisherman, brick layer, African soldier in the battle to liberate France from the Nazis, dock worker, novelist, filmmaker: an abbreviated summary of the incredible life of the founder of modern African cinema, the late Ousmane Sembene. He couldn&rsquo;t fish with his father because he would get seasick. Denied higher education, he learned by reading and going to movies at night in Dakar.</p><p>Unable to find steady work in postwar Senegal, he got to Marseilles as a stowaway. Loading cargo on ships ended in a back injury. He started to write, mostly from his own experience as a Senegalese immigrant. At age 40, Sembene had an epiphany: the people he most wanted to reach &ndash; the working and underprivileged classes of Senegal &ndash; were illiterate. He then knew he had to make films. He applied for scholarships, then studied in the Soviet Union.</p><p>Sembene&#39;s first films were shorts (the incredible <em>Borrom Sarret</em>), then a feature: <em>Black Girl.</em> A Senegalese girl works for a French couple in Dakar. The couple is repatriated back to France, settles in Antibes and sends for her. The film opening shot shows the girl disembarking, proud, looking forward to a new life. This, of course, turns out to be an illusion. The couple&#39;s living standards in France is much lower than in Dakar. The girl is forced into virtual servitude as housekeeper, nanny &ndash; often unpaid. She now belongs to the Diaspora of the immigrant underclass. The 1966 film could just as well happen today in Los Angeles, Phoenix or Miami.</p><p>Prior to meeting Sembene, I always conceived of two principal reasons for making films: money or ideology (or personal statement). Sembene&rsquo;s reason represents a third way: films for people who can&rsquo;t read.</p><p>Sembene&#39;s nine feature films made during his lifetime (<em>Black Girl, Mandabi, Emitai, Xala, Ceddo, Camp de Thiaroye, Guelwaar, Faat Kine, Moolade</em>) all address inequality, disparity or injustice, though not necessarily in expected ways. <em>Xala</em>, based on a Sembene novel, deals with a successful member of the new, corrupt &nbsp;African bourgeoisie &ndash; lavishly enjoying his new European clothes, cars, house, multiple wives &ndash; which benefit him. As he marries his third wife, he finds himself impotent. He then turns to his native village and its healer, to remove the curse. <em>Moolade</em>, Sembene&#39;s last feature, is powerfully addressed to African women, showing how together, women can overcome the practice of female circumcision.</p><p>Cinema in Africa is, for the most part, not African, but owned or dominated by its former colonial powers. To get his films shown, Sembene often traveled from village to village, film cans in hand, setting up a generator and projector in remote places. Like much of African cinema, Sembene&rsquo;s films are not easily available &ndash; you may have to search or wait to see them. Each of them is worth the effort.</p><p><span style="font-style: italic; ">This post is part of Worldview&rsquo;s occasional series&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/images-movies-and-race" style="font-style: italic; ">Images, Movies and Race</a>,<span style="font-style: italic; ">&nbsp;produced in conjunction with WBEZ&rsquo;s </span><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/" style="font-style: italic; ">Race: Out Loud</a><span style="font-style: italic; ">&nbsp;series. Film contributor Milos Stehlik hosted a&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/worldview-72412-101135" style="font-style: italic; ">series of conversations</a><span style="font-style: italic; ">&nbsp;on how modern Hollywood films on Africa hide racist overtones within heroic, feel-good stories. You can also hear Milos chat with author&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/hollywoods-representation-post-apartheid-africa-101126" style="font-style: italic; ">MaryEllen Higgins</a><span style="font-style: italic; ">, actress and professor&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/africa-themed-films-hotel-rwanda-fail-give-full-historical-context-101097" style="font-style: italic; ">Joyce Ashuntantang</a><span style="font-style: italic; ">&nbsp;and filmmaker&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/filmmaker-jill-godmilow-representation-cinema-101129" style="font-style: italic; ">Jill Godmilow</a><span style="font-style: italic; ">.&nbsp;</span></p></p> Tue, 24 Jul 2012 09:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/ousmane-sembene-seasick-fisherman-founder-african-cinema-101088 In Hollywood's representation of post-apartheid Africa, story has changed but racism remains http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/hollywoods-representation-post-apartheid-africa-story-has-changed-racism-remains <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/blood%20diamonds%20AP.jpg" title="Actors Djimon Hounsou and Leonardo DiCaprio match wits in the film ‘Blood Diamond.’ Professor MaryEllen Higgins believes the film exemplifies the ‘Western savior’ theme, common to modern Hollywood films about Africa. (AP/Warner Bros./Jaap Buitendijk)" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F53937332&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>For nearly a century, Hollywood portrayed Africa and Africans through the lens of overt racism. A number of films made after 1994, such as <em>Black Hawk Down, Hotel Rwanda, Blood Diamond, The Last King of Scotland, The Constant Gardener, Shake Hands with the Devil, Tears of the Sun, and District 9</em>, to name a few, reveal explicit and implicit messages and lessons about the effects of Western intervention in Africa.</p><p>The forthcoming book&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ohioswallow.com/book/Hollywood%E2%80%99s+Africa++after+1994"><em>Hollywood&rsquo;s Africa after 1994</em></a>&nbsp;investigates Hollywood&rsquo;s colonial film legacy in the post-apartheid era, and contemplates what&rsquo;s changed in how the West represents Africa. It&#39;s author,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.personal.psu.edu/mxh68/">MaryEllen Higgins</a>, sees a new type of covert &mdash; though not necessarily malicious &mdash;&nbsp;type of racism in Hollywood&#39;s representations of modern Africa.</p><p>This simplified, paternalistic view of Africa and Africans finds its way to Western audiences under the guise of human rights and other well-meaning themes, commonly centering on a savior from the west, be it a person, country or international body.</p><p>Here, Higgins offers up her favorite films and filmmakers on the subject of Africa and its people that counteract this dominant Hollywood narrative:</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">I recommend Mahamat-Saleh Haroun&rsquo;s trilogy of feature films, <em>Abouna</em> (Our Father), <em>Daratt</em> (Dry Season) and <em>Un homme qui crie</em> (A Screaming Man). I am especially fond of <em>Un home qui crie</em>, a film that contemplates the consequences of neo-liberalism, the decline of African patriarchs, and civil war in Chad. I also suggest Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako&rsquo;s feature film <em>La vie sur terre</em> (Life on Earth) and his documentary <em>Bamako</em>, which Jill <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/filmmaker-jill-godmilow-representation-cinema-101129">spoke about in her interview</a>.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">The late Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambety made a brilliant&nbsp;feature film,&nbsp;<em>Hyenas; </em>it merges the western film genre and a Swiss play&nbsp;to offer an artistic critique of&nbsp;the World Bank and&nbsp;global materialism.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">In my view, Cameroonian director Jean-Pierre Bekolo is one of the most inventive directors anywhere. I find his <em>Le complot d&rsquo;Aristote</em> (Aristotle&rsquo;s Plot) to be wonderfully clever. Another Cameroonian director, Jean-Marie Teno, has shot excellent documentaries such as <em>Afrique, je te plumerai </em>(Africa, I Will Fleece You), <em>Chef!</em> (Chief), and <em>Le malentendu colonial</em> (The Colonial Misunderstanding). This last film reflects upon the German genocide of the Herrero people in Namibia.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">Senegalese director Moussa Sene Absa manages to merge popular cinema and serious critique in <em>Tableau Ferraille,</em> a film about polygamy and political corruption starring Ismaël Lô. <em>Les silences du palais</em> (The Silences of the Palace) is a beautiful film by Tunisian director Moufida Tlatli. Tlatli&rsquo;s films offer stunning cinematography as well as sophisticated meditation on the politics of gender in the Maghreb. Tunisian director Férid Boughedir&rsquo;s <em>Un été à la Goulette</em> (A Summer at the Goulette) is a humorous film about ordinary romance with a poignant, political ending. Of course, I suggest that everyone see the works of two of the most influential directors of African cinema, Ousmane Sembène (from Senegal) and Haile Gerima (from Ethiopia). These are just a few examples of great African films.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">There are, I think, some films featuring Hollywood celebrities that break the &ldquo;Western savior&rdquo; mold. Two examples benefit from the writing of Gillian Slovo and Shawn Slovo (daughters of the late South African activists Ruth First and Joe Slovo): British director Tom Hooper&rsquo;s <em>Red Dust </em>and Australian director Phillip Noyce&rsquo;s <em>Catch a Fire</em>. Lastly, <em>Invictus</em> is not a perfect film, but I think that it&rsquo;s great that Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood directed a film about Nelson Mandela&rsquo;s battle against the very expectation of African failure that other Hollywood films tend to perpetuate. In other words, <em>Invictus</em>&rsquo;s Mandela defies expectations that South Africa will plunge into catastrophe, and he does so without the assistance of western saviors.</p><p style="margin-left: 1in;">Finally, I recommend that all human rights activists read books by Mahmood Mamdani (his <em>Saviors and Survivors</em> in particular).</p><p><em>MaryEllen Higgins is an associate professor of English at the Greater Allegheny Campus of Pennsylvania State University. She also co-authored&nbsp;</em>The Historical Dictionary of French Cinema.</p><p><em>This post is part of Worldview&#39;s occasional series&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/images-movies-and-race">Images, Movies and Race</a>, produced in conjunction with WBEZ&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/">Race: Out Loud</a>&nbsp;series. Listen to film contributor Milos Stehlik&#39;s other conversations, with actress and University of Hartford professor&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/africa-themed-films-hotel-rwanda-fail-give-full-historical-context-101097">Joyce Ashuntantang</a>&nbsp;and filmmaker&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/filmmaker-jill-godmilow-representation-cinema-101129">Jill Godmilow</a>,&nbsp;as they explore how modern Hollywood films on Africa hide racist overtones within heroic, feel-good stories.</em></p></p> Tue, 24 Jul 2012 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/hollywoods-representation-post-apartheid-africa-story-has-changed-racism-remains Godmilow: Western films about Africa only glorify the West http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/godmilow-western-films-about-africa-only-glorify-west-101129 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/algiers%201962.jpg" title="A French soldier walks past the body of settler killed in Algiers in 1962. Filmmaker Jill Godmilow calls Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 film ‘The Battle of Algiers’ ‘perhaps the most perfect demonstration of re-enactment and collaboration.’ (AP Photo)" /></div><p><em><a href="http://nd.edu/~jgodmilo/">Jill Godmilow</a> is a renowned independent film and video-maker and an Emeritus Professor in the <a href="http://www.nd.edu/%7Eftt">Dept. of Film, Television, and Theatre</a> at the University of Notre Dame. She&#39;s also a noted theorist on the documentary film genre and has written and lectured extensively on form and representation.&nbsp;Her films include: </em><a href="http://nd.edu/%7Ejgodmilo/antonia.html">Antonia: A Portrait Of The Woman</a>, <a href="http://nd.edu/%7Ejgodmilo/grotowski.html">With Jerzy Grotowski, Nienadowka, 1980</a>, <a href="http://nd.edu/%7Ejgodmilo/popovich.html">The Popovich Brothers Of South Chicago</a>, <a href="http://nd.edu/%7Ejgodmilo/poland.html">Far From Poland</a>, &nbsp;<a href="http://nd.edu/%7Ejgodmilo/moon.html">Waiting For The Moon</a>&nbsp;<em>and</em> <a href="http://nd.edu/%7Ejgodmilo/farocki.html">What Farocki Taught</a>.</p><p><em>Here, Godmilow argues that if you want to learn anything useful about Africa from film, you must consult the continent&#39;s home-grown directors:</em></p><p>Simone Weil wrote, &quot;Documents originate among the powerful ones, the conquerors. History, therefore, is nothing but a compilation of the depositions made by assassins with respect to their victims and themselves.&quot; An old African proverb says &quot;Until the lions can tell their stories, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter.&quot; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>This is what I see in Hollywood&#39;s representation of Africa and Africans &mdash; both before the 1994 Rwandan genocide and after &mdash; tales that glorify the hunter made by Western hunter/filmmakers.&nbsp; More subtle or less subtle, they almost always produce a scary or backward/undeveloped or desperate people who live on a dark and mysterious continent which &quot;we&quot; will never understand. Our films exploit the African continent as a shaded exotic/erotic zone where white folks play dangerous games, struggle, save black Africans from destruction and sometimes, even learn a thing or two from a wise old black man. To discover anything useful about Africa in the cinema, you must watch African films &mdash;&nbsp;films made by African directors. Fortunately for us, Ellie Higgins has given us a magnificent <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/hollywoods-representation-post-apartheid-africa-101126">annotated list</a> of these.</p><p>If we Westerners must go to Africa and make films there, there are films from other countries that could serve as good models. Each in this list involves two key strategies. The first is collaboration with the peoples of the place &mdash;True collaboration. This would give us an opportunity &mdash; with our superior technological skills and equipment &mdash; to serve the people whose stories we would tell. It would also keep us honest in our storytelling. Then, some kind of useful experience of these people and places might be offered.</p><p>The second strategy is re-enactment. Develop important stories from the histories of these other peoples and ask them to re-enact them for the cinema.</p><p>Please take a look at the superb innovation, <em>Ten Canoes</em>, a 2006 feature film that comes directly out of an aboriginal culture. It&rsquo;s a collaborative effort between the Dutch/Australian filmmaker, Rolf de Heer, aborigine director, Peter Djigirr, and the Ganalbingu people of Arnhem Land. The film is in the Ganalbingu language. For us, the aborigines of Australia are very very foreign people, but here in the <em>Ten Canoes</em> cinema, we can, at the least, for 90 minutes, swim in their language and just begin to sniff out the sounds and rhythms of these people. There is a great deal more for us in this film, but there is always at least that&hellip; true sound&hellip; a way of knowing someone&hellip; a beginning.</p><p>Please take a look at the 1961 film. <em>The Exiles</em>, a collaboration between UCLA grad student, Kent MacKenzie, and some Native American friends of his who re-perform their recent painful experience of being tricked off their reservation and brought to Los Angeles to wander through wild drunken nights in the City of Angels, thus to become Americans. It is one of the most painful and most beautiful films I have ever seen.</p><p>Be sure to watch and watch again the Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo&#39;s 1966 film, <em>The Battle of Algiers</em><strong>&hellip; </strong>perhaps the most perfect demonstration of re-enactment and collaboration. If we had studied this film for strategies, we could do much better making films in sub-Saharan Africa.&nbsp; Perhaps, we would have avoided the horror show of 9/11 and the wars which have consumed us since. We might have understood a bit better the recent &quot;Arab Spring.&quot;</p><p>There are others films we should learn from before we strike again in Africa, or in any other third-world country. These are just a few of the best.</p><p><em>This story is part of Worldview&#39;s occasional series&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/images-movies-and-race">Images, Movies and Race</a>, produced in conjunction with WBEZ&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/">Race: Out Loud</a>&nbsp;series. Read more on film contributor Milos Stehlik&#39;s conversations with actress and University of Hartford professor&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/africa-themed-films-hotel-rwanda-fail-give-full-historical-context-101097">Joyce Ashuntantang</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;</em><em>author/scholar&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/hollywoods-representation-post-apartheid-africa-101126">MaryEllen Higgins</a><strong>&nbsp;</strong></em><em>about how modern Hollywood films on Africa hide racist overtones within heroic, feel-good stories.</em></p></p> Tue, 24 Jul 2012 08:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/godmilow-western-films-about-africa-only-glorify-west-101129 Images, Movies and Race: 'The Help' and Black Women's Labor http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-27/images-movies-and-race-help-and-black-womens-labor-95865 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-26/the help2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>The Help</em>, based on the Kathryn Stockett novel, recently landed four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actress.</p><p>As part of <em>Worldview’s</em> occasional series “<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/images-movies-and-race">Images, Movies and Race</a>”, WBEZ’s Richard Steele spoke with <a href="http://www.umass.edu/sociol/faculty_staff/branch.html">Enobong (Anna) Branch</a>, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.</p><p>Branch is the author of the book <em>Opportunity Denied: Limiting Black Women to Devalued Work</em>, and her research focuses primarily on the study of Blacks contemporarily and historically.</p><p>In their conversation, Branch talked about the legacy of labor for Black women in the U.S. - and shared her views on the controversial film, <em>The Help</em>.</p><p>Richard Steele read from a mostly positive <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/mitchell/7030456-452/three-col-heine-goes-right-in-here.html">article</a> by Chicago Sun Times columnist Mary Mitchell about the film, but he also referenced a <a href="http://video.msnbc.msn.com/the-last-word/44098555#44098555">stinging critique</a> of the film from a by Tulane University political science professor, Melissa Harris-Perry.</p></p> Fri, 27 Jan 2012 15:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-27/images-movies-and-race-help-and-black-womens-labor-95865 Creating racial reality through advertising and film http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/creating-racial-reality-through-advertising-and-film <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/wv_20100820a_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>Fifty years after the Civil Rights era, 60 years after the wartime internment of Japanese-Americans, and almost 150 years after America's abolishment of slavery, the vast majority of the images we see in film and on TV are still of <st1:personname w:st="on">C</st1:personname>aucasian Americans.</p><p>Why are media and movies so out-of-touch with the real diversity of <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">America</st1:place></st1:country-region>? <st1:personname w:st="on">H</st1:personname>ow did we get here? Where do we go from here?</p><p>Today, film contributor <a href="http://www.wbez.org/contributor/milos-stehlik" target="_blank">Milos Stehlik</a> continues an occasional series called <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/images-movies-and-race" target="_blank"><em>Images, <st1:personname w:st="on">M</st1:personname>ovies and Race</em></a></em>. Today, Milos spends the hour with two African-American trailblazers of the advertising industry. Shirley Riley-Davis is a winner of numerous advertising copywriting and creative awards during a career that has led her from <st1:city w:st="on">Pittsburgh</st1:city> to <st1:state w:st="on">New York</st1:state>'s "<st1:personname w:st="on">M</st1:personname>ad" Avenue to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on"><st1:personname w:st="on">C</st1:personname>hicago</st1:city></st1:place>. And <st1:personname w:st="on"><a href="http://www.colum.edu/academics/marketing_communication/faculty/hallen.php" target="_blank"><st1:personname w:st="on">H</st1:personname>erbert Allen</a></st1:personname> is a <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on"><st1:personname w:st="on">C</st1:personname>hicago</st1:city></st1:place> playwright, professor of marketing at Columbia College, and advertising strategist who innovated concepts of market segmentation.<br> <br> <strong> A film about the actual 'Red Ball Express,' which was 75% black:</strong><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/KjAjBJ51dCY?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" height="385" width="640"></p><p><br> <iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ggkLhL2xjdc" frameborder="0" height="315" width="420"></iframe></p><p><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/_Mk2Tca88Xo?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" height="385" width="480"></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/7b3313ch6lU?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" height="385" width="480"></p></p> Mon, 19 Dec 2011 15:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/creating-racial-reality-through-advertising-and-film Columbus Day look at how imagery shaped U.S. policy and attitudes toward Native Americans http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-10/columbus-day-look-how-imagery-shaped-us-policy-and-attitudes-toward-nati <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-07/dances with wolves.jpg.crop_display.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Well it’s Columbus Day. Over the years Columbus Day has become something of Rorschach test on what you think about our history with Native Americans or First Nation people. Jerome McDonnell saw a Columbus Day e-card the other day that said, "Let’s celebrate Columbus Day by moving into someone’s house and telling them we live there now."</p><p>Probably most of our perceptions about native Americans is from what we see in our films and on television. Today we revisit an installment of our occasional series <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/images-movies-and-race"><em>Images, Movies and Race</em></a>. <em>Worldview</em> Film Contributor, Milos Stehlik, from <a href="http://www.facets.org/">Facets Multimedia</a> spoke with Dorene Wiese. She’s a filmmaker, historian and president of the <a href="http://www.chicago-american-indian-edu.org/">American Indian Association of Illinois</a>.</p><p>Dorene and Milos focused on how historical images of Native Americans in film and media helped form U.S. policy and attitudes towards Native Americans.</p></p> Mon, 10 Oct 2011 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-10/columbus-day-look-how-imagery-shaped-us-policy-and-attitudes-toward-nati “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” documents the Asian-American civil rights movement http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/%E2%80%9Cwho-killed-vincent-chin%E2%80%9D-documents-asian-american-civil-rights-movement <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/WKVC_Lily_at_Jackson_Rally.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For our occasional series <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wbez.org/series/images-movies-and-race">Images, Movies and Race</a>, Film Contributor <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wbez.org/contributor/milos-stehlik">Milos Stehlik</a> talks with filmmaker Christine Choy. She says Asian Americans face a special kind of discrimination. Her 1989 documentary &quot;Who Killed Vincent Chin?&quot; was nominated for an Academy Award. The film documents the story of a Chinese American who was beaten to death by an unemployed auto worker and his stepson. Outrage over the lenient treatment of the two men helped spur a pan-Asian civil rights movement. Milos talks with Choy about economic and social conditions Asian American want to change today.</p></p> Fri, 07 Jan 2011 15:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/%E2%80%9Cwho-killed-vincent-chin%E2%80%9D-documents-asian-american-civil-rights-movement How historic black imagery affects black relationships http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/how-historic-black-imagery-affects-black-relationships <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/hattie mcdaniel.jpeg" alt="" /><p><p>WBEZ’s <a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Biography.aspx?bio=rsteele" target="_blank">Richard Steele</a> Guest-hosts <em>Worldview</em> and continues our occasional series <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/images-movies-and-race" target="_blank"><em>Images, Movies and Race</em></a><em>.</em> He talks with media analyst and lecturer Brenda Verner about how the historic imagery of black men and women in media and culture has impacted black culture, customs and relationships.<br> <br> Brenda coined the term “Africana Womanism”, an ideology grounded in African culture that focuses on the experiences, struggles, needs, and desires of Africana women in the African Diaspora. She lectures at universities, schools and institutions across the country and founded the National Africana Women's Institute. Brenda began her journey in media analysis and her massive collection of stereotypic black imagery from a chance meeting with author/historian Alex Haley during her studies at Cornell and Harvard.</p></p> Fri, 10 Dec 2010 17:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/how-historic-black-imagery-affects-black-relationships How media imagery shaped US policy and attitudes toward Native Americans http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/how-media-imagery-shaped-us-policy-and-attitudes-toward-native-americans <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/dances with wolves.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Last month film contributor&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/contributor/milos-stehlik" target="_blank">Milos Stehlik</a> began the occasional series&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/images-movies-and-race" target="_blank"><em>Images,&nbsp;Movies and Race</em></a>. It's an examiniation of the history and impact of bigotry in media, entertainment and advertising.&nbsp;<br /><br />Dorene Wiese is a Native American filmmaker, historian and president of the American Indian Association of Illinois. She told Milos that the media's depiction of Native Americans has influenced US policy toward indigenous peoples.<br /><br />Dorene was part of a screening and panel discussion on the film&nbsp;<em>Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian</em> on 10/16/10 in Chicago.</p></p> Fri, 15 Oct 2010 16:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/how-media-imagery-shaped-us-policy-and-attitudes-toward-native-americans