Ben’s review published on Letterboxd:
Varda did the best thing she possibly could, which was to let the Black Panthers and their supporters tell their stories on their terms. Some extra context for anyone that follows me – I minored in Pan-African Studies. I am not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to the Black Panther Party, but there were certain things I was looking for this documentary to touch on. Thankfully, it did touch on some essential details in an informative way.
The Ten-Point Program, the role women play within the party, and the Black Panther Party informing people through newspapers and other publications are crucial pieces of information to know about, so I was happy these details made it into the documentary. I also appreciated that she gave the party themselves the stage to state their goals, why they existed, and who some of the influencers of their ideology were, too. I also loved the part about the natural hair movement making it into the documentary. Not long after, the Afrocentric movement began to take off – a scholarly and social movement that focused on studying history through an African lens or worldview and celebrating and embracing African and Black culture.
Suppose Varda had time to put together a longer documentary. In that case, I imagine she would have brought attention to other aspects of the Black Panther Party, too, such as the work they did within their communities – for example, their Free Breakfast for School Children Program. Still, she did an excellent job of capturing a specific event and putting together an informative documentary for those who are not knowledgeable about the subject matter. If anyone would ever like any more resources or information about anything, please leave a comment. I still have plenty of resources from my time studying Pan-African Studies. I would be happy to share any of those book titles, publications, etc., with anyone who is interested!