Black Panthers

Black Panthers ★★★½

I suppose it may not literally be related to the upcoming big-budget action movie, but Agnes Varda's documentary about the Black Panther Party in late-1960s Oakland, California contains plenty that seems unusual within contemporary filmmaking. For a start, it's a (short) documentary about a movement that avoids a lot of the editorialising that marks much other work of the period when dealing with Black activism: the Panthers here are eloquent, angry and righteously so about the imprisonment of their leader Huey P. Newton. Interviews with members presents their political idealism, their unashamed afrocentrism, and their earnest hatred for the police without the insidious implication that they are somehow thereby un-American or at the very least misled. It's quite refreshing really, quite aside from being a fascinating snapshot of a period in time.