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As Above, So Below / The Horse / Hour Glass

A boy sitting with his hands on his head next to a horse.
August 27, 2022 - 7:30 pm
Q&A with filmmaker Larry Clark.

As Above, So Below

U.S., 1973

Free jazz, state propaganda, religious feeling and revolutionary action roil the air in writer-director Larry Clark’s masterwork of the L.A. Rebellion. When Black army veteran Jita-hadi (Nathaniel Taylor) arrives in South-Central Los Angeles in the wake of the 1965 Watts rebellion he immediately recognizes the symptoms of a population under occupation—while an underground army watches and waits. On the soundtrack, Horace Tapscott’s improvisational score plays against recorded HUAC testimony on the threat of Black nationalism while Clark intercuts scenes of Jita-hadi’s political awakening with documentary footage of U.S. foreign interventionism and domestic police brutality. Politically radical and aesthetically inventive, As Above, So Below couples a far-reaching critique of American racial injustice with an expansive vision of the possibilities of Black resistance.

16mm, color and b&w, 52 min. Director: Larry Clark. Screenwriter: Larry Clark. With: Nathaniel Taylor, Gail Peters, Billy Middleton.

The Horse

U.S., 1973

In this haunting coming-of-age tale that its director Charles Burnett has described as a “kind of allegory of the South,” an African American boy gently tends to a horse that is to be shot as a group of white men passively look on. Burnett artfully employs a sparse lyricism, juxtaposing the stillness of the rural setting against the disquiet imbued by the impending violence.

35mm, color, 14 min. Director: Charles Burnett. Screenwriter: Charles Burnett. Cast: Gordon Houston, Maury Wright, Larry Clark.

Hour Glass

U.S., 1971

A young African American man rethinks his role as a basketball player for white spectators as he begins reading the works of Third World theoreticians like Frantz Fanon, and contemplates the work of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Angela Davis. Highly metaphoric rather than realistic, Haile Gerima’s “Project One” (an early student film project at UCLA) visualizes through montage the process of coming to Black consciousness.

Digital video, B&W and color, 14 min. Director: Haile Gerima. Screenwriter: Haile Gerima. With: Mel Rosier.

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