Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask explores for the first time on film the pre-eminent theorist of the anti-colonial movements of this century. Fanon’s two major works, Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth, were pioneering studies of the psychological impact of racism on both colonized and colonizer. Jean-Paul Sartre recognized Fanon as the figure “through whose voice the Third World finds and speaks for itself.” This innovative film biography restores Fanon to his rightful place at the center of contemporary discussions around post-colonial identity.
Isaac Julien, the celebrated black British director of such provocative films as Looking for Langston and Young Soul Rebels, integrates the facts of Fanon’s brief but remarkably eventful life with his long and tortuous inner journey. Julien elegantly weaves together interviews with family members and friends, documentary footage, readings from Fanon’s work and dramatizations of crucial moments in Fanon’s life. Cultural critics Stuart Hall and Françoise Verges position Fanon’s work in his own time and draw out its implications for our own.
This screening, co-hosted by the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, will be followed by a discussion with Anjuli Raza Kolb, Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Williams College, Anthony Alessandrini, author of Frantz Fanon and the Future of Cultural Politics and Associate Professor of English at Kingsborough Community College, and Elizabeth Marcus, doctoral candidate in French at Columbia University.
Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask dir. Isaac Julien United Kingdom, 1996, 52 minutes
-“It is a tribute to Julien…that we are now confronted with a Fanon that articulates both the great mid-century moment of anti-colonial struggle and the insurgencies and intimacies of our own post-colonial condition.” Homi Bhaba, Harvard University
-“Visually stunning and intellectually provocative, Isaac Julien’s film is an eloquent and complex exploration of the life and legacy of this century’s most compelling theorist of racism and colonialism.” Angela Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz
-“Immediately riveting and intensely thought-provoking…makes available to a wide audience the central role and legacy of this pre-eminent theorist of colonial domination.” Annette Michelson, editor, October
-“There is artistry in abundance in Isaac Julien’s singularly ambitious portrait… He does justice to the complexity of his intriguing subject.” The Guardian (U.K.)