BAM’s “Strange Victories” Salutes the Heroic Resolve of the Second World War’s Black Soldiers

Sunday, 12 November 2017, 12:31:53 AM. When it comes to the Greatest Generation, African-Americans are usually seen as having only a small part in it. Whenever a movie has taken us...
When it comes to the Greatest Generation, African-Americans are usually seen as having only a small part in it. Whenever a movie has taken us back to those proud times when U.S. soldiers valiantly went overseas to defeat Hitler, the result has frequently been a lily-white affair. Sometimes, a filmmaker would make a bold move and have at least one token soldier of color with the brigade. (Often, that soldier would be constantly played by the same guy, in movie after movie — we’ll talk about him later.) On the occasion of the impending theatrical release of Dee Rees’s Mudbound, which gives audiences a portrait of how a brave Black man went to fight for his country — only to come back home and fight again, this time to become a first-class citizen — BAMcinematek has rounded up a collection of thematically linked features and shorts called “Strange Victories: Black Soldiers and World War II.” The name of the series comes from Strange Victory (screening November 13), the radical filmmaker Leo Hurwitz’s cynical, 1948 critique of post-war America. Even though this hybrid doc ends with a Black fighter pilot trying to land a commercial flying job, Victory is more about Hurwitz showing how America’s continual oppression of other races — specifically Blacks and Jews — doesn’t make this place all that different than Nazi Germany. This hour-long film will be shown in conjunction with Illusions (1982), the first film piece from Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust), with Lonette McKee as a...Read more
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