Constructing Identity: Black Cinema Then and Now

  • April 1, 2017 — June 11, 2017

Constructing Identity: Black Cinema Then and Now is a collaborative, retrospective series of films that define the African American narrative and explore the paradigm of resistance against the dominant culture. Mirroring the development of 20th and 21st century black and African American art practice, the history of this cinema is a testament to the rebels and pioneers willing to tell it like it is. Featuring key works by such important voices such as Julie Dash, Charles Burnett, Kathleen Collins, and Spencer Williams, among others, the series seeks to provide counterpoint to the perception that historically—particularly within the Hollywood studio system— black characters have only been relegated to being background figures or racist caricatures. Here, African American experience is foregrounded through the representation of lived experience and told by black filmmakers. Presented in conjunction with the Portland Art Museum’s Constructing Identity exhibition, the series has been programmed by André Middleton, Mia Ferm, and Morgen Ruff.

Free admission for current Silver Screen Club members at the Supporter level and above. Free admission for current Portland Art Museum members on a first-come, first-served basis (no RSVPs).

Programs April-June 2017 will be announced on a rolling basis, please check back on this page or on the Film Center’s social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for updates.


Directed by Spike Lee

Routinely overshadowed by Lee’s better-known films (Do the Right Thing, She’s Gotta Have It, Malcolm X, et al.), Bamboozled is

Daughters of the Dust

Directed by Julie Dash

The first film directed by an African-American woman to receive a theatrical release, Daughters of the Dust is one of

Losing Ground

Directed by Kathleen Collins

Collins grew up in New Jersey during the period between WWII and the Civil Rights Era and received a BA

To Sleep with Anger

Directed by Charles Burnett

To Sleep with Anger, which followed director Charles Burnett’s acclaimed Killer of Sheep and My Brother’s Wedding, explores the past