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Past Films

I Am Not Your Negro

  • Director: Raoul Peck
  • Narrator: Samuel L. Jackson
  • Genre(s): Documentary
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Running Time: 95 min.

Director Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished - a radical narration about race in America, using the writer’s original words. He draws upon James Baldwin’s notes on the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr to explore and bring a fresh and radical perspective to the current racial narrative in America. [Magnolia Pictures]

"It's unmissable and unforgettable."
- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"Baldwin’s insights originate from 1979, but they still speak volumes, and Peck makes their observations sting."
- Tim Grierson, Screen International
"It is a searing and topical indictment of racial prejudice and hatred in America that makes for uneasy viewing and is not easily forgotten. "
- Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter
"It is a striking work of storytelling. By assembling the scattered images and historical clips suggested by Baldwin’s writing, I Am Not Your Negro is a cinematic séance, and one of the best movies about the civil rights era ever made."
- Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian
"Best of all is the man who stands front and center, thinking, smoking and expounding, off-the-cuff, about a subject he spent his career and life mulling over, fuming over and struggling to understand in depth. "
- Roger Moore, Movie Nation
"Peck has made one of this year’s finest documentaries. At once pulsing with anger and yearning for compassion, it’s an examination of past and present America as a cycle where the backdrop has changed and particulars have remained the same."
- Michael Snydel, The Film Stage
"If you watch "I Am Not Your Negro," you'll spend a kaleidoscopic and transporting 90 minutes living inside James Baldwin's mind, coming thrillingly close to his existential perception of the hidden meaning of race in America. [...] Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro is the rare movie that might be called a spiritual documentary. "
- Owen Gleiberman, Variety
"Though its principal figure, the novelist, playwright and essayist James Baldwin, is a man who has been dead for nearly 30 years, you would be hard-pressed to find a movie that speaks to the present moment with greater clarity and force, insisting on uncomfortable truths and drawing stark lessons from the shadows of history. "
- A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"Brilliantly blending archival material, including clips of Baldwin on television and in public appearances, with narration by Samuel L. Jackson, Peck makes intriguing connections between the 20th century civil rights movement and the contemporary activism of Black Lives Matter. "
- Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"A compelling document that works as a mini-history of black racial identity in America from the mid- to late-20th century and beyond."
- Stephanie Zacharek, TIME Magazine
"It's an evocation of a passionate soul in a tumultuous era, a film that uses Baldwin's spoken words, and his notes for an unfinished book, to illuminate the struggle for civil rights."
- Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
"This Oscar-nominated portrait of James Baldwin uses the author's words to bridge the civil-rights past with our racially incendiary present. It's unmissable and unforgettable."
- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"A journey of discovery; a path of words and images, taking us into the lives of four African-American men and into the heart of the civil-rights movement"
- Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"If it revives interest in Baldwin and demonstrates to the public that his work is still vital, 30 years after his death, that would be a service, indeed."
- Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle