Director: Göran Hugo Olsson 2011
Summary: From 1967 to 1975, fueled by curiosity and naïveté, Swedish journalists traversed the Atlantic Ocean to film the black power movement in America. The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975 mobilizes a treasure trove of 16mm material, which languished in a basement for 30 years, into an irresistible mosaic of images, music, and narration to chronicle the movement’s evolution. Mesmerizing footage of Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Huey P. Newton, Angela Davis, and Eldridge Cleaver, as well as Black Panther activities, are peppered with B-roll footage of black America. These scenes take on a fresh, global angle through the outsider perspective of the Swedish lens.
Meanwhile, penetrating commentaries from artists and activists influenced by the struggle—like Harry Belafonte, Sonia Sanchez, Talib Kweli, Erykah Badu, and Professor Robin D. G. Kelley—riff on the range of radical ideas and strategies for liberation. Their insights and the vibrancy of the unearthed footage render the black power movement startlingly immediate and profoundly relevant.
Excitement Scale (1-10): 8 – Though I’m not always big on Swedish filmmakers (and Olsson hasn’t had too much success with audiences in the past), this documentary certainly sounds intriguing. Its scope is large, but winning an editing award at Sundance should hint at Olsson’s ability to keep his film focused.