DocHouse: What Did Raoul Peck Say?

This story was originally published on DocHouse.

As the audience took to their seats last night in the sold out Renoir auditorium for a preview screening of I Am Not Your Negro, followed by a Q&A with Oscar nominated director Raoul Peck, the excitement was palpable. I Am Not Your Negro has stirred positive noise and gained huge following thus far so the Bertha DocHouse is thrilled to bring you daily screenings from Friday 7th April. Book your tickets: HERE.

I Am Not Your Negro is an obligatory film that bursts with imagery and dialogue derived from James Baldwin’s unfinished 1979 manuscript. Peck brings the question of race in America to the screen through captured footage of Baldwin’s lectures, interviews and news clips from the present day to explore the evolution of his argument. Through Baldwin’s words his close relationship with Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Medgar Evers – three leading figures connected to the civil rights movement – is tracked to connect the audience with dates of when America’s segregation was at its toughest and most brutal.

Ahead of the film’s release we have complied some key quotes that Raoul Peck so wisely bestowed upon us throughout his Q&A last night. Whether you are familiar with Peck’s work, Baldwin’s activism, or are an aspiring documentary filmmaker his words hold significance now more than ever.

The urgency to make I Am Not Your Negro:

“My motivation was how I bring those powerful words to a younger generation today.”

On the connection to Lumumba: Death of a Prophet – Peck’s first feature documentary:

“For both films, I gave myself all of the necessary freedom in the sense of content and form, and also to find the real way to bring them together in conversation.”

Dialogue between Baldwin and the audience:

“Making films in only the words of a writer means you are hearing from the head of the writer.”

Peck’s hopes of how I Am Not Your Negro could change our thought process:

“I don’t have a recipe otherwise I would be Donald Trump. Baldwin tells us we are responsible for our own future.”

On heroes of nowadays compared to Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Medgar Evers:

“Do we need anyone to lead the way for us?”

On Baldwin’s idea that entertainment brings narcissism:

“When we are glued to Twitter all day long, we do not have time to read a book. You can’t make the revolution on Facebook or with a tweet.”

On President Obama becoming the first black president:

“The real question wasn’t who will be the first Negro president? The real question was what country will he be the president of? When you understand that you, you understand it’s not about Obama. It’s about something bigger. It’s about what we do and what country it is. “

Bridging the gaps:

“Frame your own identity.”

Peck’s reaction to change as a Filmmaker:

“Let’s bring back some instruments I used when I was young, which was Baldwin.”

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