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unforgivable blackness: the rise and fall of jack johnson

USA, 2004 (MIFF 2005, Zero to Hero: Survival of the Fittest)

Director: Ken Burns

"Even those with a passing knowledge of the tumultuous career of the first black heavyweight boxing champion will be amazed at the depth and range of detail in Ken Burns' irresistibly engrossing study of a 'self-defined man' who behaved as though prejudice didn't exist and enraged most of the white population in the process. "Shortly after the dawn of the 20th century, Johnson emerged as a force of nature that could not be ignored. Imposingly large, eloquent, well-read, a man of the world, hugely talented in the ring and a 'sport' with a fatal habit of consorting with white women, his life had the classic arc of triumph and tragedy. "Johnson flourished during the early days of motion pictures, so there is plenty of footage of the subject in the ring. Beyond providing a fine account of his wild career, the film fashions an extraordinary portrait of white supremacist thinking at its American pinnacle, when the notion of racial superiority was so important to the majority that a challenge to it could not be allowed." - Variety
D Ken Burns P David Schaye, Paul Barnes, Ken Burns S Geoffrey C. Ward WS Florentine Films TD HDcam/col, B&W/2004/214mins Ken Burns was born in New York, USA. His films include [Brooklyn Bridge] (1981), [The Statue of Liberty] (1985), [Jazz] (2001), [Mark Twain] (2002).

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