Haile Gerima

Haile Gerima – Bush Mama (1976)

Bush Mama is the story of Dorothy and her husband T.C., a discharged Vietnam veteran who thought he would return home to a “hero’s welcome.” Instead he is falsely arrested and imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Theirs is a world of welfare, perennial unemployment, and despair. To some, the film may appear bleak and nihilistic with its stark black-and-white photography, but its message is moving and distinct. Read More »

Haile Gerima – Child of Resistance (1973)

“Jump Cut” wrote:
In CHILD OF RESISTANCE (1972), the camera follows the central figure, a woman dressed in a robe, hands bound, being transported through a barroom into a jail cell, directly outside of which later appears a jury box filled with jurors. Linearity is rejected as space is treated poetically, following the coordinates of a propulsive social idea — the social imprisonment of black women. Read More »

Haile Gerima – Mirt Sost Shi Amit aka Harvest: 3,000 Years (1975)


From IMDb:
“This film is set in Ethiopia. A family works on a wealthy,cruel landowner’s farm. The landowner accuses them of being lazy and trying to get his money without earning it. The only person who will stand up to the landowner is the local “madman”. I liked this film, the music & songs are very uplifting. The wealthy landowner and the “madman” both give terrific performances. The camera work is very unique. There is symbolism in this film. The wealthy landowner symbolizes the more developed countries of the world.(U.S. & western Europe) The family of farmers symbolizes the poor countries.(Ethiopia & other countries) The “madman” symbolizes what the more developed countries do to the poor countries and vice versa.(We drive each other NUTS) Not your normal film. It is in the Amharic language with very small English subtitles.(the only real flaw in the movie) I have only seen 10 or 12 African films. This is easily is the best. I hope distributors find more films from Africa like this and put them on video & stop wondering if Americans can understand them. I feel the message is loud & clear.” Read More »

Haile Gerima – Hour Glass (1971)


Jan-Christopher Horak wrote:
A young African American male rethinks his role as a basketball player for white spectators as he begins reading the works of Third World theoreticians like Frantz Fanon, and contemplates the work of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Angela Davis. Highly metaphoric rather than realistic, Haile Gerima’s “Project One” (an early student film project at UCLA) visualizes through montage the process of coming to Black consciousness. Read More »

Haile Gerima – Sankofa (1993)


From the New York Times review:
“In “Sankofa,” a contemporary African-American woman travels back in time and experiences slavery. Haile Gerima’s poetic and precisely detailed film takes its audience into its heroine’s life and mind as her moral sense is challenged and changed. No viewer can avoid the discomforting questions the film so eloquently raises.

The opening sequences, set and filmed in Ghana, are alternately seductive and off-putting. Among drums and chants, a voice invokes ancestral ghosts. “Spirit of the dead, rise up,” the voice says, “and claim your story.” The film’s title is a West African term meaning to reclaim the past in order to go forward, and “Sankofa” stumbles only in its depiction of the present. Read More »