Directed by Raoul Peck. 2016. USA. Color.
Written by James Baldwin
with the voice of Samuel L. Jackson
Academy Award nominee
Best Documentary Feature
"One of the best movies you are likely to see this year."
— Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends – Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
At the time of Baldwin's death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript.
Now, in his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin's original words and flood of rich archival material. I Am Not Your Negro is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. It is a film that questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond. And, ultimately, by confronting the deeper connections between the lives and assassinations of these three leaders, Baldwin and Peck have produced a work that challenges the very definition of what America stands for.
"A TRANSCENDENT DOCUMENTARY. A meditation on the prophetic brilliance and the very being of James Baldwin. In I Am Not Your Negro, he speaks to us, like a somberly eloquent ghost from the past, and what he says is: The thing we think of as the ‘American racial problem' is not the American racial problem. It's a crisis of the American spirit, with race as the excuse. It's the disease that we must heal, or it will destroy us. To hear that message echo through I Am Not Your Negro is to feel uplifted in the special way that only James Baldwin could uplift you. It's to feel cleansed, but warned. It's to feel that the fire is here ."
— Owen Gleiberman, Variety
"REMARKABLE. The film treats Baldwin as not only a great writer but an enormously current one, capable of issuing warnings across decades that have yet to be heeded. It's thrilling to spend this much time simply being in the company of Baldwin's words."
— Linda Holmes, NPR
"A stirring meditation about being black in America. Baldwin's insights originate from 1979, but they still speak volumes. Jackson gives a sterling, understated performance."
— Tim Grierson, Screen International