Chauncey -Theater 2 Sun, Apr 28 4:00 PM
Dialogue Event:Yes
Event Info
Dialogue Event:Yes
Series Info
Series:Out of the Archive: Envisioning Blackness
Film Info
Director:Christopher Harris
Runtime:73 minutes
Rating:Not Rated
Year Released:2001
Production Country:USA



Featuring a pre-show reception and an in-person Q&A with Director Christopher Harris moderated by Dr. Priyanka Basu, Associate Professor, Art History, University of Minnesota Morris

"An absorbing and meditative exploration into the lives and lifetimes lost in abandoned spaces."—Alec Stutson, Vox Magazine

Presented as the closing night selection for ICDOCS 2024

All ICDOCS programs are available free and open to the public. Proceeds from any donations for this Out of the Archive co-presentation go toward supporting this and future programming in the series.

With his MFA thesis film from the School of Art Institute of Chicago, experimental filmmaker Christopher Harris reflects on the slow, inexorable decay of a once tight-knit African American neighborhood on the north side of St. Louis through government indifference, neglect, and corruption; White suburban flight; the collapse of manufacturing; and the chronic systemic racism of redlining, redistricting, and perverted currents of sociological thought and urban planning. His polyphonic voice of spoken words, dreams retold, and the sounds of telephones and doorbells is not so much elegiac as searching, in the way that, as he describes, Miles Davis or Roscoe Mitchell find meaning and infinite variation in musical notes and in the silences and spaces between them, or what he calls, “a post-industrial city symphony in a minor key.” His black-and-white images, shot with a 16mm Bolex camera, capture a ghostly palimpsest of working-class Victorian homes long since abandoned, and once successful African American businesses, including the Criterion movie palace, now shuttered and in ruins. A vibrant cosmopolitan culture, a life of bustling commerce, domestic comforts and hardships, of movies and music and food made by Blacks and for Blacks, once thrived behind these broken windows and crumbling walls. (Note courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art)

Presented with TWENTY-FOUR DOLLAR ISLAND (1927) 13 min.
With an obsession with the telephoto lens and the skyscrapers of New York City, pioneering documentarian Robert J. Flaherty creates a city symphony that engages with 300 years of history.

This program is supported by Humanities Iowa. The views and opinions expressed by this program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities Iowa.