Haiti-born filmmaker Raoul Peck’s James Baldwin documentary I Am Not Your Negro opened to critical acclaim this weekend. The Magnolia Pictures-distributed work is based on the last unfinished work by legendary author-essayist.
In interview after interview, Peck has contended that his fascination with Baldwin begun when he was a teen. The seed of Baldwin was planted in him by his uncles, then by his roommates while he was in college in Berlin, Germany. That deep-rooted passion for Baldwin and his work has manifested with so much depth in I Am Not Your Negro that critics can’t help but see it in the final work.
Many cinema pundits have called the documentary a reflection of our times. Jeffrey Brown of PBS praised Peck for what he sees as the director’s ability to connect Baldwin’s world with the late 2010s.
Film critic Tre’Vell Anderson writing in The L.A. Times called the doc “unadulterated, uncompromising and unapologetic”. Julia Fesenthal of Vogue wrote a glowing review of I Am Not Your Negro and encouraged others to see it, asserting that it’s “incredible”. CNN has said that it is “stunningly relevant.”
Rolling Stone movie critic Tim Grierson credits the film with reviving James Baldwin’s legacy. He calls I Am Not Your Negro “provocative”. In its review, The Wall Street Journal echoes the same thought, while praising Peck for going outside the traditional narration style of the documentary form.
I Am Not Your Negro is in theaters as I am writing this. You can visit the film’s official website here!
You can watch the trailer for the Samuel L. Jackson-narrated James Baldwin documentary below!
And you can watch Peck’s interview with Don Lemon below!
This has been a special edition of Kreyolicious on Film! Until next time.
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