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In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, "Remember This House." The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin's death in 1987, he left behind only 30 completed pages of this manuscript. Filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished.Written by
In "Remember This House" Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished -a radical narration about race in America, through the lives and assassinations of three of his friends: Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers and Malcolm X. using only the writer's original words. See more »
The film was deemed Best Documentary by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, took home the People's Choice Award from the Toronto International Film Festival and won a creative recognition award from the International Documentary Association, to name a few. See more »
I am speaking as a member of a certain democracy in a very complex country, which insists on being very narrow-minded. Simplicity is taken to be a great American virtue, along with sincerity. One of the results of this is that immaturity is taken to be a virtue too.
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This is a pastiche film that blends archival footage and photographs with old Hollywood movie clips and a running dialogue of Baldwin's words from the few seeds of a book idea he only started. It never seamlessly all fits together in a satisfying manner, but most of what Baldwin spoke of all those years ago, unfortunately, still rings true today.
An important film to be sure, but it didn't really tell me almost anything I didn't already know, although I would guess I am in the minority here. As the great Frederick Douglass stated long ago, "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, and it never will." That is true whether one is on the 'wrong' side of the color line, the socioeconomic line, the political line or the gender line.
Considering the limited source material and what the director was trying to (ostensibly) achieve, it was well put-together technically, but even at 1:35 it felt a little long. Still, Baldwin's words remain powerful, and seeing him and hearing them all these years later reminds us of the old saw, "Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it."
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