Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 mobilizes a treasure trove of 16mm material shot by Swedish journalists who came to the US drawn by stories of urban unrest and revolution. Gaining access to many of the leaders of the Black Power Movement—Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis and Eldridge Cleaver among them—the filmmakers captured them in intimate moments and remarkably unguarded interviews. Thirty years later, this lush collection was found languishing in the basement of Swedish Television. Director Göran Olsson and co-producer Danny Glover bring this footage to light in a mosaic of images, music and narration chronicling the evolution one of our nation's most indelible turning points, the Black Power movement. Music by Questlove and Om'Mas Keith, and commentary from prominent African- American artists and activists who were influenced by the struggle -- including Erykah Badu, Harry Belafonte, Talib Kweli, and Melvin Van Peebles -- give the historical footage a fresh, contemporary resonance and makes the film an exhilarating, unprecedented account of an American revolution. [Sundance Selects] Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Sep 29, 2011
    It's an imperfect but ambitious film willing to confront an enormous, complex period in this country.
  2. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Sep 5, 2011
    A tangy raw stew of history, even if it never begins to confront the contradictions that bedeviled black militancy.
  3. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Sep 6, 2011
    Black nationalism lives and breathes in this remarkably fresh documentary - a standout in last spring's New Directors/New Films - assembled by Göran Hugo Olsson.
  4. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Sep 7, 2011
    Illustrates how the rhetoric of civil rights changed after the breakthroughs of Martin Luther King. With the world's media finally paying attention, critical thinkers like Carmichael, Davis, and Malcolm X were able to push back against the fretful questions about violence, and redefine the story of blacks in America over the centuries as one defined by violence.
  5. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Sep 22, 2011
    Black Power Mixtape's contemporary audio, though it tries hard to involve us, can't hold a candle to this kind of footage. But if having these current voices on board helped get the luminous glimpses of the past back on the screen, we owe them a vote of thanks.
  6. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Sep 8, 2011
    The fact that the speakers' faces are never seen produces a feeling of estrangement that is crucial to the film's effectiveness. You become acutely aware of gaps and discontinuities: between slogans and realities, between political ideals and stubborn social problems, between then and now.
  7. Reviewed by: Lauren Wissot
    Sep 4, 2011
    Simply put, the documentary is full of cool talking heads pontificating rather than taking physical action.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Sep 27, 2011
    It's fascinating to see such historic figures in the Struggle from the Swedish perspective. Most importantly, it's just great to see new footage of folks like Stokely Charmichael and Angela Davis - both of whom are so charismatic and inspirational. The film flags a bit toward the end as the focus shifts to the ravages of drug abuse and the infighting and assassinations within the Nation of Islam. For someone who hasn't been exposed to much modern African American history in school or elsewhere, this would be fairly informative, though a bit disjointed. Expand