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Monday Night Movie: Black Power Mix Tape

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The Black Power Mixtape, 1967-1975
Director: Göran Olsson
Year: 2011
There are numerous layers to Göran Olsson’s The Black Power Mixtape, 1967-1975. There are his rich, captivating edits of period source material, filmed by Swedish television crews in the late 1960s and early 1970s, that focus on various Black Power activists, including Stokely Carmichael and the Black Panthers. There is the apparent period tension between black American interviewees and white Swedish film crews. There is Olsson’s attempt to complicate those tensions and continue those conversations by, over 30 years later, employing people like Talib Kweli and Erykah Badu to provide commentary on the original footage. The resulting film is impressionistic—too impressionistic, perhaps, for somebody looking for an introduction to Black Power, since there’s no real attempt to provide comprehensive context or history here. But as a deliberate meditation on race and race relations in the United States in a specific historical period, Mixtape is incredibly evocative. —MA

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