Black Panthers

Black Panthers ★★★★

“The panther was chosen as their symbol. It is a beautiful black animal which never attacks, but, defends itself ferociously.”

Since I do not have much background knowledge on the theme of this film, I will take the opportunity to pay tribute to Varda again. This film is another example of the power that Varda has as a documentary maker. I dare say she is now my favourite documentary director. On the one hand, because the degree of empathy she can muster for people is so incredible. Varda doesn't judge, she listens, and that is again very clear in this film. She gives a voice to the people in a way that is as neutral as possible but still with admiration, something that few documentary makers manage to do. She is able to conjure up beautiful words out of people's mouths through her soft voice with which she calmly asks the right questions. The sincere interest that she conveys only through inexhaustible kindness translates into a film with concatenations of text that only evokes a very sweet admiration for the subject. On the other hand, she has an incredible eye for detail and humanity. Time after time, she succeeds in portraying people's bodies in the most beautiful way, with the edges that might not be obvious to you or me. The focus she puts on the people's hair, for example in this film, is really beautiful and shows how she can make the viewer adore human beauty. Finally, I love how she is able to express her feminist ideals in a subtle way in all of her films, here focusing on the importance and role that the movement gives to women.

“For so many, many years, we were told that only white people were beautiful. And so, black women would try everything they could to straighten their hair, lighten their skin, to look as much like white women. And the black men would let it be known that thought white women were beautiful. And they'd say they didn't want any ugly black woman with short hair. This has changed; because, black people are aware, now, that their own appearance is beautiful. They're proud of it. And white people are aware of it too; because, white people now want a natural wig. They want wigs like this. Dig it. Isn't it beautiful? Alright!”

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