A Look into the Representation of Women in the New Black Film Canon

Lisa Doris Alexander, author of The New Black Film Canon The New Black Film Canon, claims that there are many movies not in the film canon of Black cinema , that have more rich images of Black characters than those that have been popularized over the years.

Barry Jenkins’ Medicine for Melancholy, a romantic comedy which debates the specifics as well as Nikyatu’s drama about the workplace. Aisha explores the complexities of existence within the context of an high-end Manhattan family. Both are must-sees for anyone interested in great Black films.

1. Blood of Jesus (1940) Blood of Jesus (1940)

The moment that Slate launched its New Black Film Canon seven years ago it was the latest in a series of lauded lists of some of the most significant culturally important film made by Black directors.

Spencer Williams’ 1941 movie The morality and religious drama that was shot in Texas with a budget of $5,000, was the first movie that went on the registry. This film is a significant event in cinema of the race and documents the historical development for Black Southern Baptist culture.

2. Bessie (1995)

Bessie Coleman, then just 18, saved enough money for Langston University in Langston (formerly Colored Agricultural and Normal University). Bessie Coleman dropped out of the college in the middle of a semester, as it was cost prohibitive.

The tale shows how the individual can over come any obstacle. This powerful story is an inspirational message to Black girls to be bold and follow their dreams.

3. The loss of Ground (1988).

Losing Ground is the movie of an African-American woman director, and an inductee into the National Film Registry. It is the story of a Black woman who is a teacher and her husband, an abstract artist.

Kathleen Collins, a multi-talented director, brings together her many talents in this character study. It is a surprise! It’s accompanied by an all-star cast which includes Seret Scott (Pretty Baby) and Bill Gunn (Ganja and Hess) It’s an impressive piece of cinematic art which has just been restored and is scheduled for physical release and theatrical presentation by Milestone Films.

4. The House on Mango Street The House on Mango Street, 1960

Sandra Cisneros has written The House at Mango Street, a story about Esperanza Corero. The story is based on the author’s experiences as a child growing up in a low-income Mexican American neighborhood.

The novel is organized as a series of vignettes that reflect on the life of Esperanza. These stories provide information about the culture and difficulties faced by Chicanas within the Chicago’s Hispanic Quarter.

5. The Smell of Success (1980)

The Smell of Success (or SLOB for short) is an Oscar worthy nominee for best film of the year. The film is a show stopper and is starring Burt Lancaster. It features a star studded cast that includes the likes of Michael Caine and Phyllis Smith. In all, it is an enjoyable experience throughout the entire film.

6. The Last Picture Show (1960)

NPR and Slate together for Slate and NPR have joined forces to create the Black Film Canon. The Black Film Canon compilation includes films by Black directors. This is a bid to force all gatekeepers and producers of best-of lists by examining the breadth of artistry that Black filmmakers have showcased on the screen, despite the odds being traditionally stacked against them.

This selection from director Peter Bogdanovich is an adaptation of Larry McMurtry’s semi-autobiographical novel. It’s set in rural Texas and follows the relationship of two high school seniors.

7. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (1968)

One of the most enduring films from the 1970s is the Taking of Pelham 1. 2 3. The film is slickly made and does not waste time. Its plot is effectively revealed through motion.

It is New York, four armed individuals hijack a subway train and demand a ransom of one million dollars. To keep passengers safe, Walter Matthau (the head of the transit police) has been fighting city hall as well as his fellow officers.

8. The Blues Brothers (1980).

Blues Brothers (1980), is a must-see for anyone looking for amazing Black. This episode features Jake along with Elwood Blues as well as a couple who were Saturday Night Live pioneers John Belushi (Dan Aykroyd)

It’s their passion for music that is the film’s main theme. This leads them to many of the best blues and soul artists from Chicago. But it also devotes a significant portion of the movie to standard, absurd, car chase comedy.

9. The Godfather, 1972

The first step to fantastic Black cinema with The New Black Film Canon. The Godfather is the film which launched a type of genre of movies that focused on organized crime and created the standards for what is possible in this genre.

It became a massive success for both the critics as and the audience. It also revived Marlon Brando’s career. The film established Coppola as a major participant in the field.

10. “The Sun and The Raisin (1963).

The New Black Film Canon is your ideal place to start looking for the best Black films from the past. This is a trend that is spreading within the literary world of tastemakers and social media influencers along with media executives looking to bring back focus on older works.

There are vibrant portraits that seem fresh and modern throughout every time and also films that were produced prior to the advent of the internet. They are definitely worth your time.

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