Stream online for free starting April 1, 2021
Garrett Bradley, America, 2019 (still); courtesy Field of Vision and the artist; image: courtesy Field of Vision/Charlotte Cook
Garrett Bradley, 2019, 30 min.
Garrett Bradley works across documentary, narrative, and experimental modes of filmmaking to explore realities of contemporary life and bring to light lost histories. Her growing body of work — including the recent documentary Time (2020), a stunning portrait of a family separated by the prison system — addresses issues of race, class, family, social justice, Southern culture, and the history of film in the United States.
America explores the legacy of silent films inspired by Bert Williams’s Lime Kiln Club Field Day (1913), the first known film to feature an all-Black cast, and recently rediscovered in the Museum of Modern Art’s archives. Constructed out of vignettes of moments in Black history, Bradley’s film contemplates the lost lineage of African American cinema to suggest an inclusive world where Black beauty, joy, and strength are eternal. Bradley describes America “as a template for how visual storytelling and the assembly of images can serve as an archive of the past and a document of the present.” The project reflects on the need to deal with the nation’s racist past and present, creating Black presence where there has been absence in the national memory to consider anew what it means to be American.
Film screens courtesy of the artist and Field of Vision.
Co-presented with San Francisco Cinematheque.