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Movies/TV Last Updated: Sep 23rd, 2014 - 14:45:02

African Diaspora Films
An image from the movie "Azu."
The 8th DC African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) starts Friday, August 22 in the DMV and will feature ten films, including eight DC premieres. For a full schedule for the 8th DC African Diaspora International Film Festival and to order advance tickets call 212.864.1760 or visit

Aug 22, 2014, 08:53

'Anita' Speaks Truth to Power
"Anita: Speaking Truth to Power” tells the story of Anita Hill, the young, cute law professor who testified how Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her on the road to being confirmed as a Supreme Court justice.

Apr 26, 2014, 20:22

Not That Long Ago...
In a world of popular culture, where even the new big-budget, special effects release “Noah” draws controversy, a movie like “Caesar Chavez,” which extols the heroic struggles of impoverished people, is most certainly placed in the political and ideological crosshairs.
By Esther Iverem

Apr 21, 2014, 22:19

Spies of Mississippi
"Spies of Mississippi” tells the story of Mississippi’s Sovereignty Commission, a state, tax-payer supported agency established to maintain, at any cost, Jim Crow segregation and a totalitarian system of white supremacy.

Mar 30, 2014, 17:08

Too Painful to Watch?
Iverem joins Stephanie Dunn and Mark Anthony Neal on "Left of Black" to discuss Black film in 2013. She points out that many Blacks considered "12 Years a Slave" too painful to watch.

Mar 30, 2014, 16:48

The Lesson of '12 Years'
Perhaps the long-lasting value of "!2 Years a Slave" extends beyond its depiction of the brutality of slavery to its depiction of the economic tentacles of slavery in the building and foundation of the United States.
By Esther Iverem

Mar 30, 2014, 16:31

Top Film Picks
"12 Years a Slave" tops's top ten films of 2013. See what else Esther Iverem put on her list as we head toward the awards season

Dec 26, 2013, 15:51

The Walk From Apartheid
"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” does not offer any judgments or answers about the debates that still swirl in South Africa. Rather, this movie succeeds in presenting one man’s role in shaping the history we know. And then history is left to judge.
By Esther Iverem

Dec 26, 2013, 15:15

Letting the Fire Burn
“Let the Fire Burn' is a gripping and chilling new documentary about the 1985 bombing of the MOVE organization in Philadelphia. Made up of archival news footage, as well as footage from the proceedings of the Philadelphia Special Investigation Commission, it details how city, police and fire officials were negligent in the fiery deaths of 11 people, including women and children, as well as responsible for the inferno that destroyed 61 homes and left 260 people homeless. By Esther Iverem

Dec 4, 2013, 15:39

A Man Who Lived To Tell
"12 Years a Slave" reminds us of how slavery’s horrors have been both so normalized and erased from national memory.
By Esther Iverem

Oct 31, 2013, 00:01

Fighting Somali Pirates
As the title suggests, the move "Captain Phillips" is not about Somali pirates, many of whom see piracy as a form of reparations for their ruined lives, economy and eco-system. Rather, it is another film that baldly promotes U.S. military might.
By Esther Iverem

Oct 21, 2013, 11:36

Fight For The Middle Class
In the new movie "Inequality For All,” former labor secretary Robert Reich is wide-ranging in his analysis of all that ails United States capitalism but he
still believes that capitalism can work. And in brief: "Gravity"
By Esther Iverem

Oct 13, 2013, 19:28

The Eyes of 'The Butler'
After a series of films like “Monsters Ball” and “Precious,” which view Black life through a lens of either pathology or the pathetic, director Lee Daniels has done a 180 with “The Butler.”

Aug 23, 2013, 15:09

Today's 'Middle Passage'
“The Pirogue” tells the story of a group of West Africans who make the risky decision to use a fishing boat to travel to Europe in search of what they think will be a better life. By Esther Ivveem

Aug 19, 2013, 00:12

Death At Fruitvale Station
Michael B. Jordan plays the role of Oscar Grant in "Fruitvale Station."
The murders of Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant, both cut down before either had a chance to live—will be linked forever by the release of “Fruitvale Station.” The movie chronicles the last days in the life of Grant and is being released at the same time as a not-guilty verdict in the trial of the man who killed Trayvon Martin.

Jul 18, 2013, 22:52

Black To The Future
Jaden Smith appears in "After Earth."
The march of post-apocalyptic movies just won’t stop. But, thankfully., the new movie “After Earth” distinguishes itself with its humanity, specifically with its exploration of human frailty. By Esther Iverem

Jun 9, 2013, 19:06

Our Deadly, 'Dirty Wars'
A young survivor of a U.S. missile attack in Yemen speaks in the movie "Dirty Wars."
“Dirty Wars,” the ground-breaking new film based on Jeremy Scahill’s best- selling book of the same name, lays bare the covert or hidden wars that the United States is fighting in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia through drone strikes, night raids and mercenaries. By Esther Iverem

Jun 9, 2013, 19:04

Jackie Robinson Lite
“42: The Story of an American Legend" tells the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to integrate major league baseball. In it, Harrison Ford plays a great role as Branch Rickey, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers who recruited and hired Robinson. A case could be made that "42" says more about Rickey than it does about Robinson.

May 6, 2013, 22:03

Movies/TV : Movies
A Twist on Human Survival
Whether they were intended to be or not, the scenes of drone attacks in “Oblivion” serve as terrifying metaphors for today’s controversial and deadly drone attacks by the United States against the dark masses of the Middle East and Africa.
By Esther Iverem

May 6, 2013, 21:55

Torturous Lies
There is nothing to cheer about in “Zero Dark Thirty,” just like there was nothing to cheer in Saddam Hussein’s hanging or Muammar Gaddafi’s murder on YouTube. If anything, “Zero Dark Thirty” shows America what kind of global empire it has become and why, in reaction, the world hates us.
By Esther Iverem

Jan 23, 2013, 23:57

'Unchained' and Unbowed
In his “Pulp Fiction” over-the-top style, Quentin Tarantino wraps the vicious reality of American slavery within the familiar confines of the action hero, the Western gunslinger and the quest to rescue the damsel in distress. The main problem with “Django Unchained” is that it is the most recent example of someone other than Black people telling the story of Black People.
By Esther Iverem

Jan 2, 2013, 15:16

Truth Online and Onscreen
Halle Berry starred in the thought-provoking "Cloud Atlas."
When I look back at culture and media for 2012, I am drawn to the power and importance of the Internet, to how documentaries remind us of truth and to how movies can still speak to our humanity.
By Esther Iverem

Dec 21, 2012, 12:07

‘King Abraham Africanus’?
Daniel Day-Lewis as "Lincoln."
Steven Spielberg’s sojourn into representing Lincoln in the new movie of the same name automatically provokes major questions: Would he complicate the imagery of Lincoln or would he merely represent the mythology of the noble ‘Great Emancipator’?
By Stephanie Dunn

Nov 30, 2012, 16:33

U.S. Mass Incarceration
Two new films offer penetrating insight into the impact of mass incarceration in the United States. Powerful from start to finish, "The House I Live In" explores the devastating impact of the so-called "war on
drugs." "Middle of Nowhere" reminds us of the loved ones left on the outside.
By Esther Iverem

Oct 12, 2012, 16:14

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We Gotta Have It
Order Esther Iverem’s We Gotta Have It: Twenty Years of Seeing Black at the Movies. 1986-2006. An essential overview of the “New Wave” in Black cinema—a complex, often surprising perspective on art, society, and history.  More than 400 reviews, plus essays and interviews from your favorite movie critic.

Early raves for We Gotta Have It:

"Esther Iverem brings a voice that is deft, insightful and good-humored to the subject of African American culture."
      --Tavis Smiley

"Esther Iverem… is, hands down, one the smartest cultural critics of her generation. This wonderful romp through the last two decades of black-subject films will have you visiting your local video store on the regular.  It’s one of those book we gotta have."
      --Robin D. G. Kelley

"The work of African American filmmakers continues to out pace critiques and commentary by African American film critics. Esther Iverem closes this gap.
      --Warrington Hudlin

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