Looking for films to see during the holiday season and into New Year? One of the heartening trends in film in 2016 has been an increase in the number of quality Black films. Just last year, a controversy erupted around the Academy Awards for lacking diversity. While the Medea comedies, the Barbershop series, black comedians, inner city crime, and Denzel or Will Smith always have an audience, movies with complex black characters and honest depictions of African American life have had a difficult time getting made or finding an audience. This year that has changed. Here is a list of highly regarded films about African American life from past years. They are followed by a list of eight from this year that are well worth seeing. In 1971, Melvin Van Peebles Sweet Sweetback SWEETBACKS . . . READ MORE
Boston artist Rosamond Purcell is an extraordinary collector, archivist, cataloger, writer, and photographer. A new documentary An Art That Nature Makes (screening at Cambridge’s Brattle Theatre on November 16 at 7:30 p.m.) explores the multi-ambidextrousness of her aesthetic vision, particularly her fascination with discarded, discredited, and/or dispatched objects. Her studio in Somerville (at the Brickbottom Artists’ Building) displays her eclectic sensibility: it is filled, floor to ceiling, with material from museums, junk yards, and ephemera markets. She also chooses, arranges, and then photographs material from natural history museums, endowing these pieces with a tranquility that makes us see them in fresh ways. Purcell’s photography is dedicated to staging transformations, the unexpected magic of metamorphosis. Once useful READ MORE . . .