Haïe Gerima
USA 1976
97 min

Influenced in part by the pioneering work of film luminaries Vittorio de Sica, Fernando Solanas, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Med Hondo, Gerima makes films that tell of the human condition. He exploits the medium as a political weapon and as a catalyst for understanding and social change at the same time, consciously eschewing what he describes as the «narrative dictatorship» of Hollywood pictures.
Gerima's 1976 <i>Bush Mama</i> provides a striking example of this mission. The film presents a poignant contrast, produced as it was during the period of film history known as the «Blaxploitation» era. Gerima's depiction of the travails of black life and culture are far removed from that of the drug deals and revenge killings of <i>Superfly</i> (1972) and <i>Foxy Brown</i> (1976). <i>Bush Mama</i> is the story of Dorothy and her husband T.C., a discharged Vietnam veteran who thought he would return home to a «hero's welcome». Instead he is falsely arrested and imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. Theirs is a world of welfare, perennial unemployment, and despair. To some, the film may appear bleak and nihilistic with its stark black-and-white photography, but its message is moving and distinct. Issues of institutionalized racism, police brutality and poverty remain sadly pertinent, and the film retains its potency.

  • Cora Lee Day
  • Barbara O. Jones
  • Johnny Weathers
  • Susan Williams
  • Simmi Ella Nelson
  • Bettie J. Wilson
  • Ben Collins
  • Renna Kraft
Haile Gerima
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