Bill Gunn, Ganja and Hess, 1973 (still); photo: courtesy Photofest


Ganja and Hess

Friday, July 27, 2018

8:30 p.m.

Introduced by Ryanaustin Dennis

Dr. Hess Green is a wealthy anthropologist studying a long-gone Egyptian tribe that was wiped out by a mysterious blood disease. When Hess is stabbed by his assistant with one of the tribe’s ceremonial knives he is consumed by bloodlust. Devoid of vampire transformation scenes and moonlight prowls, the film abandons the conventional narrative and demonstrates Gunn’s highly stylized and personal approach to supernatural storytelling. The pairing of sound and image brings us into Hess’s dream state, a hallucinatory collage of African myths, spiritual awakening, eroticism and gospel performance.

Ryanaustin Dennis is an Oakland-based curator, artist, writer, and founding member of The Black Aesthetic. His practice is concerned with how twentieth- and twenty-first-century experimental performance, film, and writing histories are shaped by the metaphysics of blackness.

Film Details

Country: USA
Language: English
Year: 1973
Running time: 90 min
Format: DCP
Director: Bill Gunn
Screenwriters: Bill Gunn
Producer: Chiz Schultz
Cinematographer: James E. Hinton
Editor: Victor Kanefsky
Source: KinoLorber

Films and schedules may be subject to change.

Modern Cinema’s Founding Supporters are Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein. Generous support is provided by Nion McEvoy and the Susan Wildberg Morgenstein Fund.

Community support for Black Powers: Reframing Hollywood is provided by the Museum of the African Diaspora.