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Our Picks + Black Is King (Special Guest)

Wednesday 19 August 2020, by Abla Kandalaft, Coco Green, George Crosthwait

For this episode of Mydylarama’s Top Picks podcast, we’re joined by our guest, academic, film programmer and Japanese Avant-Garde and Experimental Film Festival producer George Crosthwait. George Crosthwait.

George’s pick of the week, and also his first trip back to the cinema since February, is Shannon Murphy’s debut film ’Babyteeth’. An Australian coming-of-age drama that both impressed and confused him due to it’s tonal eccentricities.

Abla’s picks of the week include Richard Pryor: Omit The Logic (2013), now available on Sky, a pretty engaging and informative documentary about the comedian’s life, and a couple of festivals to look out for: the Cologne International Film Festival, whose first - and entertainingly eclectic - edition will run on 11-12 September 2020 across various venues in the city, and the London Kurdish Film Festival (15-24 August), offering a collection of 50 screenings carefully curated into various themes, all available ONLINE and for FREE!

George’s choice for this episode take the podcast deep into the beehive for Beyoncé’s ambitious new visual album ’Black is King’. A kaleidoscopic collage of symbolism, music and visual splendour, involving an impressive rollcall of African diasporic performers and artists, ’Black is King’ is the first in a reported three picture deal between Beyoncé and Disney.

We discuss the film’s aesthetic qualities and cultural merit, as well as its more problematic dimensions, its simplistic, potentially fetishistic depiction of a vague and all-encompassing "African" culture, its celebration of opulence and capitalist ambitions as a lever of Black empowerment, and the way it highlights a melancholic search for identity, roots and heritage among many African Americans. We mention a number of other films, namely The Burial Of Kojo, that you can watch on Netflix, the excellent Black Girl by Ousmane Sembene, freely available on YouTube!

As an aside, here is an article Abla mentions about Disney’s dodgy credentials when it comes to matters of race and ethnicity - not to mention its history of plagiarism, sexism and dubious business practices.

Any message or comments?


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