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I Heard It Through the Grapevine

I Heard It Through the Grapevine

Dick Fontaine
United States
1982
91 min
n.a.
Special Screenings
Synopsis

Disgusted by the level of racism in America, Black author James Baldwin had left the United States for Paris in 1948. But in 1957 he returned to contribute to the Civil Rights movement. As a journalist he reported on historical events such as Martin Luther King’s legendary March on Washington in 1963.

Two decades later, Baldwin revisited those places – among them Selma, Birmingham, and Atlanta – to meet with writer friends and former activists and discuss what been achieved. This travelogue film intersperses these conversations with archive footage of the civil rights struggle and the author’s own reflections.

A sense of intense disappointment pervades the film. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 appeared to be a great leap forward, but, as former activist David J. Dennis points out, the economic situation for African-Americans remained unchanged. Baldwin regards the King monument in Atlanta merely as an attempt to defuse King’s ideas and passion. Summing up the sense of disillusionment, Dennis states: “This country had its opportunity to choose the right road but they decided over and over again to take the wrong way.”

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Credits
91 min
color / black and white
DCP
Spoken languages: English
Director
    Dick Fontaine
    Dick Fontaine
Production
    Dick Fontaine
    Dick Fontaine
Cinematography
    Ivan Strasburg,
    Jane Jackson
    Ivan Strasburg,
    Jane Jackson
Editing
    Julian Fontaine,
    Keith James,
    Nigel Mercer
    Julian Fontaine,
    Keith James,
    Nigel Mercer
Sound
    Judy Freeman,
    Pauk Filby
    Judy Freeman,
    Pauk Filby
Music
    Corrnell Dupree,
    Gordon Edwards,
    Steve Gadd,
    Richard Tee,
    Carlton Reese and the Freedom Choir,
    Walter Washington,
    Grachan Moncur III
    Corrnell Dupree,
    Gordon Edwards,
    Steve Gadd,
    Richard Tee,
    Carlton Reese and the Freedom Choir,
    Walter Washington,
    Grachan Moncur III
Screening copy
    Harvard Film Archive
    Harvard Film Archive

Stills

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