Virtual Screening Room: Myth of a Colorblind France

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2020 • dir Alan Govenar • 86 min

As a companion piece to the new restoration of NATIVE SON (1951) we present this new documentary that explores the reputation of France, and specifically Paris, as a haven for Black artists and intellectuals – specifically those fleeing the oppression and racism experienced in the US. What made these artistic innovators choose France? Why were the French fascinated by the newcomers? And to what extent was and is France truly colorblind?

MYTH OF A COLORBLIND FRANCE investigates these questions and examines the ways that racism has plagued not only African Americans fleeing the United States, but all people of color in France today. The film explores the lives and careers of renowned artists who emigrated to Paris, including Josephine Baker, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Beauford Delaney, Augusta Savage, Lois Mailou Jones, and Henry Ossawa Tanner. It also features interviews with contemporary scholars, artists, poets, filmmakers, and musicians to weave a tapestry of voices illuminating the individual experiences of Black intellectual expats living in France today.

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