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The Cry of Jazz

USA, 1959 (MIFF 1960, Programme 10)

Director: Edward O. Bland

The Cry of Jazz makes a complete about-face in American documentary, from a passive, objective democratic or "simple humanist'' approach to a personal, passionate, active one. It is an essay film, with all visual material and commentary subject to proving and illustrating an idea.

Produced by a group of young Negro intellectuals and artists in Chicago, the film describes the condi­tions of the Negro today through the history and character of jazz. The director takes a very cate­gorical stand: that jazz is an expression of the American Negro; that the Negro, because of his long suffering was able to retain more of the tragic-emotional richness than the American white; and that jazz is now dead because the Negro is enter­ing the stage of a more conscious confident accept­ance of himself. All this is stated not in logical expressions but in passionate outbursts. It is said with a sort of philosophical anger, as though by one who has finally lost all patience with expla­nation. It is like a cry held too long in the throat.

See also...

The Grasshopper and the Ant

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A silhouette film telling the fable of the grasshopper who, having idled all summer, appeals to the industrious ant for help in winter. ... More »

A Far Cry

UK, 1958
At the port of Pusan a clinic issues milk and clothing to some of the children of the million refugees who fill the city and surrounding hills . . This film made by the Save the Chilclen Fund with th… More »

A is for Architecture

Canada, 1959
A study of the aesthetics and achievements of architecture through the ages by means of animation. Through the brushes of artists we pass from the ancient temples of the Nile to the skyscrapers of to… More »

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