Black Panthers

Black Panthers ★★★★

When you see the commitment to Marxism-Leninism incorporated into the Black Panther Party, it becomes clear why the United States wanted as many members as possible imprisoned or killed, and it didn’t much matter to the pigs how the job was carried out.

This short film is so good because of the agency it gives members of the BPP to speak for themselves, rarely narrating over them and only doing so to explain what event is being witnessed or other simple statements. The vast majority of the true dialogue of the movie comes from the Black Panther Party itself, and it’s a great watch for it. Seeing footage of Huey P. Newton, Stokely Carmichael, Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, and Kathleen Cleaver gives a refreshing familiarity to the heads of the party. Much of the footage is stuff I’d never seen before.

When given the chance to survey a crowd or meeting, Agnès Varda manages to create pleasing cinematography as well, framing speakers in the background with a face taking up half the screen in close focus, and I personally loved the continuous shots of Panthers reading Quotations from Chairman Mao in front of the courthouse. I greatly respect Agnès Varda for using her platform for good in occasions like these and publishing what organizations like the Black Panther Party had to say and stood for.

Free Huey!

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