Films on Race

A while ago, I crowd-sourced suggestions for films to show alongside a module I will be teaching next year on ‘Race and the Making of the Modern World’. Below is a list of some of the films suggested with a brief description of the film (via IMDB and Wikipedia) and a link for you to find out more about them. Feel free to make further suggestions! Either email us or add the title and a short description via the comments section below.


FILM Director           Description
Sankofa Haile Gerima A self-absorbed Black American fashion model on a photo shoot in Africa is spiritually transported back to a plantation in the West Indies where she experiences first-hand the physical and psychic horrors of chattel slavery, and eventually the redemptive power of community and rebellion as she becomes a member of a freedom-seeking Maroon colony
The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 Goran Olsson Footage shot by a group of Swedish journalists documenting the Black Power Movement in the United States is edited together by a contemporary Swedish filmmaker.
Ashani Sanket (Distant Thunder) Satyajit Ray On the Bengal Famine of 1943. As food shortages reach catastrophic proportions, Gangacharan attempts to preserve his privileged situation, while his generous wife, Ananga, conversely tries to help and support the community.
Killer of Sheep Charles Burnett The drama depicts the culture of urban African-Americans in Los Angeles’ Watts district.
Bamboozled Spike Lee About a modern televised minstrel show featuring black actors donning blackface makeup and the violent fall-out from the show’s success.
Zulu Love Letter Ramadan Suleman The scene is set in South Africa. After the fall of the Apartheid regime. Reconciliation is what the government wants and but do the people want to reconcile?
Last King of Scotland Kevin MacDonald Fictional story of Nicholas Garrigan, a young Scottish doctor who travels to Uganda and becomes the personal physician to the dictator Idi Amin. Based on factual events of Amin’s rule.
On the Way to School Orhan Eskiköy One year in the life of a Turkish teacher, teaching the Turkish language to Kurdish children in a remote village in Turkey. The children can’t speak Turkish, the teacher can’t speak Kurdish…
Sanders of the River Zoltán Korda A British District Officer in Nigeria in the 1930’s rules his area strictly and struggles with gun-runners and slavers with the aid of a loyal ‘native’ chief.
Hollywood Shuffle Robert Townsend The film is semi-autobiographical, reflecting Townsend’s experiences as a black actor when he was told he was not “black enough” for certain roles.
Rhymes for Young Ghouls Jeff Barnaby It is set in 1976 on an Indian reserve in the context of the residential school system. It is based on the history of abuse of the First Nations people by government agents
Playing Away Horace Ove To mark the conclusion of their “Third World Week” celebration, a cricket team in a small English village invites a black cricket team from South London to a charity game with comical results.
The Searchers John Ford Set during the Texas–Indian Wars, a Civil War veteran spends years searching for his abducted niece among Native Americans.
Black Robe John Beresford The film begins in the settlement that will one day become Quebec City. Jesuit missionaries are trying to encourage the local Algonquin Indians to embrace Christianity.
Quilombo Carlos Diegues Palmares is a 17th-century quilombo, a settlement of escaped slaves in northeast Brazil. In 1650, plantation slaves revolt and head for the mountains where they find others led by the aged seer, Acotirene.
Babylon Franco Rosso It depicts the struggles of a Black British working-class musician and stars Brinsley Forde of the reggae band Aswad.
Daughters of the Dust Julie Dash Tells the story of three generations of Gullah women in the Peazant family on St. Helena Island in 1902 as they prepare to migrate to the North.
También la Lluvia (Also the Rain) Iciar Bollain As a director and his crew shoot a controversial film about Christopher Columbus in Cochabamba, Bolivia, local people rise up against plans to privatize the water supply.
Queimada (Burn) Gillo Pontecorvo The professional mercenary Sir William Walker instigates a slave revolt on the Caribbean island of Queimada in order to help improve the British sugar trade.
The Battle of Algiers Gillo Pontecorvo On the Algerian war for independence from France.


Submitted by Gurminder K Bhambra

+ Show Comments

One thought on “Fragments from a Critical Geography Conference: ICCG, Ramallah, July 2015”

  • I am surrpised that there is no criticism of Weber’s Orientalism by way of new histories of the Great Divergence such as by Parthasarthi, Bagchi, Pomeranz, Bin Wong, Phillip Hoffman, Jack Goody, John Hobson

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *