The movie

The Photograph

Journey back to the heyday of the Harlem Renaissance in 1920s New York with filmmaker Sherman De Jesus and discover a world of proud Black immigrants from the American south and the Caribbean who, for the first times in their lives, are able to live and express themselves (relatively) free of racism.

Length: 101 min
Country: Nederland
Language spoken: Engels
Language subtitles: Nederlands
Cast:
Director: Sherman De Jesus
Release date: 2020

Description

Journey back to the heyday of the Harlem Renaissance in 1920s New York with filmmaker Sherman De Jesus and discover a world of proud Black immigrants from the American south and the Caribbean who, for the first times in their lives, are able to live and express themselves (relatively) free of racism. The photograph of the title is the one image De Jesus has of his grandfather Juan de Jesus. This black-and-white photo shows Juan proud and stately: broad shoulders, a neat suit and tie… a real gentleman of the 1920s. It serves as the lynchpin for this vivid exploration of Black culture and the work of legendary (Black) photographer James Van Der ZEE (1886-1983), who took more than 70,000 photos of primarily Black subjects and became known as the ‘photographer of greatness’ for the way he seemed to bring out the strength and positivity of his subjects. From ordinary people who wanted a memento to take home to the new wealthy bourgeoisie to celebrities such as Muhammad Ali and Jean-Michel Basquiat (both seen her in archival footage)—Van Der Wee photographed them all and left a shining record of pride in what it was to be a Black person in Harlem at the time. And what could be more apt for the times we are living in now?

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