F.: J. Robert Wagner. Mo.: Ruth Schell. Int.: Jim Collier, Gary Davis, Larry Johnson, Florynce Kennedy. Prod.: Lionel Rogosin DCP. D.: 56’.
After Come Back, Africa, On the Bowery, and Good Times, Wonderful Times, the restoration of Lionel Rogosin’s films reaches its fourth chapter with Black Roots. As with his previous films, Rogosin does not depend on preconceived ideas but reinvents the form of his cinema with the conviction that every piece of work is a kind of unique organism, nourished by particular places, people, and stories. What remains unchanged is his need to take cinema into the deepest folds of the contemporary world – to take a position against the fascist, repressive, and destructive drifting of our social lives. Black Roots gets a group of five African Americans talking around a café table: among family memories, observations about the present, and the desire to reverse injustices emerges a powerful picture of black pride, anger, discouragement, mirth, combativeness, and beauty. As the characters are all excellent musicians who put on long improvised performances, the film is also an occasion to hear the wonderful music that thrives throughout American black culture.