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Body and Soul (1925)

Wed 17 March

INTRO 18:30 WITH Professor Charles Musser (12m)
FILM 18:45 (1h 42m)
POST SCREENING Q&A starts at 20:35 (Live on Zoom)

NOTE: This film has some instances of the use of racial slurs that are offensive today.

Paul Robeson - the first African American actor to achieve international star status – made his screen debut in this audacious, all-Black cast melodrama, directed and produced by Oscar Micheaux – the silent era’s most successful Black filmmaker.

Micheaux brings a showman’s flair to the sensational story of a demonic ex-con, posing as a minister in order to swindle the townspeople of their money. Micheaux’s leading man, Robeson, shows off his considerable range, playing dual roles as the mild-mannered Sylvester and his charismatic identical twin brother Isaiah.

We are thrilled to present tonight’s Opening Night feature with American jazz musician Wycliffe Gordon’s big-band orchestra composition… a score that ‘captures the ethos of the movie brilliantly, delving deep into his Georgia upbringing and infusing the score with hymns, work songs, and the timbres of early-to-modern jazz.’ (All About Jazz)

Dir. Oscar Micheaux | USA | 1925 | N/C PG | 1h 42m | English intertitles

With: Paul Robeson, Mercedes Gilbert, Julia Theresa Russell

Music Score by Wycliffe Gordon

Screening material courtesy of Brumfield and Associates

Screening, Programme Notes, Introduction, and Q&A supported by the British Association for American Studies / United States Embassy

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