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Part of the Bronzeville Cultural Festival, this two-day event includes screenings Friday and Saturday, June 15 and 16, at Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, 700 E. Oakwood, and McCormick Tribune Campus Center, 3201 S. State. All screenings are free and by DVD projection; for more information call 773-651-0700 or visit bronzefest.com.
Short documentaries Six shorts, bracketed by opening remarks and Q and A sessions. Among the topics are the Chicago Defender, early integration at Roosevelt University, and the career of Harold Washington. a McCormick Tribune Campus Center, 2 PM.
Short works A gospel-music video and a documentary about a street rapper. 45 min. a Carruthers Center, 2 PM.
Portraits of Black Chicago Cinematographer Bobby Sengstacke will introduce this documentary profiling 12 Chicagoans. a McCormick Tribune Campus Center, 4:30 PM.
The Murder of Emmett Till Stanley Nelson’s 2002 documentary retells the powerful story of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Chicago boy who visited Mississippi in 1955, made the mistake of insulting a white woman, and was abducted, tortured, and killed. I was grateful for the attention paid to Till’s mother, Mamie, whose insistence on displaying her son’s mangled corpse to 50,000 fellow Chicagoans dramatized the miscarriage of justice when a Mississippi jury acquitted the known killers. But Nelson’s frequent use of spirituals on the soundtrack is needlessly sappy, and Marcia A. Smith’s script is parochial in some respects. She concludes that the Till case sparked the civil rights movement, which is certainly accurate, yet many subsequent horror stories fanned the flames. She also implies that white southerners unanimously supported such atrocities, omitting any mention of Alabama reporter William Bradford Huie, who bribed Till’s killers into confessing and later made a career of defying southern racism. 57 min. (JR) Producer Laurens Grant will attend the screening. a McCormick Tribune Campus Center, 6:30 PM.
Underworld This rarely screened 1937 drama was one of the last by pioneering black director Oscar Micheaux (Within Our Gates, Body and Soul). Adapted from an Edna Mae Baker story, “Chicago After Midnight,” it’s about a young man who comes to Chicago after graduating from a southern black college and gets involved with a professional gambler. 63 min. a McCormick Tribune Campus Center, 8:30 PM.
Short documentaries Short works bracketed by opening remarks and Q and A sessions. Among the topics are local media personality Herb Kent and the annual Bud Billiken Parade on King Drive. a Carruthers Center, noon.
Asunder Two married couples–one about to have a baby–have been best friends for years. One of the women dies in an accident, and her husband becomes a stock psycho. But this 1998 feature–made without a trace of parody or even made-for-TV-style efficiency–goes on for so long before he actually kills anybody that it comes off as a terrible drama instead of a terrible thriller. Tim Reid (Once Upon a Time . . . When We Were Colored) directed a screenplay by Eric Lee Bowers; with Michael Beach, Blair Underwood, and Debbi Morgan. R, 102 min. (LA) Reid will attend the screening. a McCormick Tribune Campus Center, 2 PM.
Kissing Bandit Cinema exec Bernard Williams will introduce this comedy set in Atlanta. 90 min. a Carruthers Center, 4 PM.
RThe Spook Who Sat by the Door Possibly the most radical of the blaxploitation films of the 70s, this movie was an overnight success when released in 1973, then was abruptly taken out of distribution for reasons still not entirely clear. A mild-mannered social worker (Lawrence Cook) is recruited by the CIA as a token black and proceeds to learn (and later apply) the techniques of urban guerrilla warfare in Chicago (though most of the filming was done in Gary, Indiana). Corrosively ironic and often exciting, this adaptation by Sam Greenlee of his own novel, directed by Ivan Dixon, remains one of the great missing (or at least unwritten) chapters in black political filmmaking. PG, 101 min. (JR) Greenlee will attend the screening. a McCormick Tribune Campus Center, 4:30 PM.