If I had to make a list of the seminal black films ever made, films that anyone who claims to be even remotely interested in black films must see, Halie Gerima’s 1993 film Sankofa would have to be, without question, on the top of the list.
No question, it is a challenging and disturbing film. It is even revolutionary (and very few films can legitimately claim that distinction) and the New York Times said it best when it said about Gerima’s film that, "no viewer can avoid the discomforting questions that film so eloquently makes.”
For those who have never seen it, it deals with a materialistic model on a fashion shoot in African who finds herself traveling through time in a spiritual journey back to slavery, where she becomes involved in a slave rebellion, and in turns discovers her own African identity and spirituality.
It is a film that is both beautiful and haunting that raises more questions that it answers, and respects the audience enough to have them come up with their own answers and understandings about what they have seen.
Now 20 years after it original release, Sankofa will be screened, in a 35MM print, in Chicago on Friday November 8, at the University of Chicago Logan Center of the Arts, located at 915 E. 60th St.
If you have never seen it, or even if you have seen it several times before, you can’t afford to miss this.