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"Illusions" followed by "Looking for Langston"

Introduced by Ayanna Dozier

Shuttering Time: The Moving Image After James Van Der Zee

  • Saturday, April 2, 2022
  • 2:00 p.m.
  • West Building Lecture Hall
  • In-person
  • Registration Required


Illusions holds a mirror to the Hollywood discrimination that disproportionately affects individuals at the intersection of race and gender. Julie Dash uses Hollywood’s “Golden Age” of filmmaking (roughly 1920–1960) to unpack how the industry has systemically reinforced white supremacy through representation. Through her protagonist, Mignon, an executive passing as white, Dash has crafted a metafilm that is both a representation of the erasure of Black women’s roles in cinema history as well as a critical reflection on that erasure. Illusions enables audiences to perceive film differently and has ultimately become a key example of the oppositional gaze, as defined by bell hooks. (Julie Dash, 1983, 35 minutes)

Looking for Langston

Looking for Langston, Isaac Julien’s lush, experimental narrative, is notable for spearheading a new queer film aesthetic. Using the fragmented history around Harlem Renaissance author Langston Hughes, Julien crafts a visual poem that realizes Langston’s queerness on camera. The film features a variety of archival ephemera from the 1920s, as well references to modern artists like Essex Hemphill and Robert Mapplethorpe. The inclusion of modern cultural producers and documents purposefully blurs the boundaries of truth and temporality to situate Hughes among a tangible archive of Black, queer masculinity. (Isaac Julien, 1989, 40 minutes)

Registration is required to attend.