I Am Not Your Negro. 2016. USA/France. Directed by Raoul Peck. 95 min.
Haitian director Raoul Peck creates a powerful portrait of James Baldwin through Baldwin’s final manuscript, Remember This House, which remained unfinished at the time of his death in 1987. More film essay and meditative channeling than biopic, I Am Not Your Negro relates Baldwin's reflections on friends and fallen icons of the Civil Rights era—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Peck juxtaposes writing, letters, and documentation of Baldwin's brilliant oratory with footage of the Civil Rights movement, period popular culture, and current images of racial violence. Samuel L. Jackson provides mesmerizing narration, his lyrical cadence making Baldwin feel uncannily present. The film does this too, reintroducing one of the greatest voices of our era at a time when his activism remains painfully relevant. Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.