Melvin & Jean: An American Story

This hourlong documentary (2012) is more accomplished in its storytelling than a good many dramatic features, and it offers a fascinating lesson in the history of radical politics. Melvin and Jean McNair, members of the Black Liberation Army, took part in the 1972 hijacking of a Delta Air Lines flight from Detroit to Algeria and eventually settled in France, where they now run programs for at-risk youths in Lower Normandy. Their political evolution constitutes a compelling tale in itself, but director Maia Wechsler also delivers an informative account of the black nationalist movement and a touching chronicle of the McNairs’ long marriage. The talking heads—among them the couple’s relatives in North Carolina and one of the pilots of the hijacked plane—are lively and surprisingly candid; this often plays like a spirited reunion. In English and subtitled French.