BAMcinématek's fifth edition of New Voices in Black Cinema, presented in collaboration with the ActNow Foundation,
offers a long weekend of features, documentaries, and shorts that center on the black experience both within Brooklyn and all over the world. The lineup of works opens with a strong double bill: Ben Bowman's mother-son drama Knucklehead, starring Alfre Woodard (12 Years a Slave) and The Wire's Gbenga Akinnagbe, followed by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka's black-and-white, Lolita-esque Of Good Report, which was originally banned in South Africa. Another item of note is the cinematographer Arthur Jafa's (Daughters of the Dust, Crooklyn) Dreams Are Colder Than Death, which screened at last year's New York Film Festival. Today's program brings the U.S. premiere of Rob Brown's Sixteen, about a former DRC child soldier's attempt to start a new life in London.
BAMcinématek's "Cuba: Golden 60s," a series comprising six features and a program of shorts by the director Santiago Álvarez, pays tribute to the period following the Cuban revolution when the country experienced a radical boom in its filmmaking output. Some of the titles on display are, thankfully, not complete strangers to international recognition: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea's Memories of Underdevelopment earned great acclaim when it came to the U.S. in 1973, while Mikhail Kalatozov's initially maligned I Am Cuba was reclaimed by Western cinephiles — like former Voice critic J. Hoberman, who notably called the film a "Bolshevik hallucination" — in the 1990s. Meanwhile, tonight's opening selection — Humberto Solás's Lucía, from 1968 — is as ambitious as anything in the series, spanning three distinct epochs (1890s, 1930s, 1960s) of Cuban history.