'L.A. Rebellion Redux'
Friday, March 22, 2013
7:30 pm - 10:00 pm, UCLA Hammer Museum - Billy Wilder Theater
UCLA Festival of Preservation
See below for additional information.
General admission: $9.00. Non-UCLA students*, seniors, UCLA Alumni Association members (ID required): $8.00. UCLA students (current ID required): free.
L. A. Rebellion has become the most common term used to describe a group of Los Angeles-based African and African American film artists recognized largely for their work produced between the 1960s and 1980s, when most of them met as students in UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. The term denotes an evolving group of many admirable facets. Among these were the diversity of its creative expressions, and the importance of women’s voices within the group. That same diversity, even among the women of the “L.A. Rebellion themselves” is underscored by this program of new restorations, two of which are premieres not included in the Archive’s 2011 program “L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema.” In their variety, however, all three films have in common not only an African-American woman’s perspective, but also a focus on the process of coming to consciousness.
THE SNAKE IN MY BED (1995), directed by Omah Diegu: In Nigeria a boy’s identity originates in the village of the father. If he is an orphan, he literally has no identity. Directed in Nigeria and Germany with funding from the German Kuratorium of Young Cinema and Germany’s ZDF by UCLA film school graduate Omah Diegu, this personal documentary relates the story of a middle class Nigerian woman who marries a German expatriate in Lagos and has his child, only to learn that he has a wife and child back in Germany. She goes to Germany to get justice for his bigamy and give her son an identity, since both Germany and Nigeria have reciprocal marriage laws. There she finds that the German bureaucrats she faces only work to protect the philandering white man. This beautiful, poetic documentary celebrates maternal love, even as it exposes German racism.
Preceded by: THE DIARY OF AN AFRICAN NUN (1977), directed by Julie Dash: A nun in Uganda weighs the emptiness she finds in her supposed union with Christ. Adapted from a short story by Alice Walker, the film was a bold first move by its director toward narrative filmmaking. Its graphic simplicity and pantomimed performance by Barbara O. Jones give it an intensity that anticipates Julie Dash’s work on Daughters of the Dust.
GREY AREA (1982), directed by Monona Wali: The title of Monona Wali’s UCLA thesis film, Grey Area, refers to the spaces of compromise that seemingly have to be made to survive in white society. The film revolves around an African-American woman reporter for a local television station who must seemingly compromise her political principles to keep her job, just as a former Black Panther Party member gets out of prison, only to realize that the old comrades in the struggle have moved on with their lives. It is also a plea for community development in Watts and other black L.A. neighborhoods, a concern that connects many of the L.A. Rebellion projects.
IN PERSON: Director Monona Wali.