Justin Simien’s Adventures in Moviegoing

Justin Simien’s Adventures in Moviegoing

15 Episodes

What would the world look like if Charles Burnett and Kathleen Collins were spoken of in the same terms as Fritz Lang and Stanley Kubrick? That’s the question at the heart of this edition of Adventures in Moviegoing, in which Justin Simien, the creator of DEAR WHITE PEOPLE and BAD HAIR, sits down with fellow filmmaker Janicza Bravo to discuss the decades-long erasure of Black artists from the cinematic canon, the expectations and constraints faced by contemporary Black directors, and why, in Simien’s opinion, every Black film is an experimental film. Their incisive conversation is presented alongside a selection of some of Simien’s favorite touchstones of Black cinema, including Gordon Parks’s gorgeous coming-of-age odyssey THE LEARNING TREE—the first major studio film made by an African American director—and Collins’s luminous character study LOSING GROUND.

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Justin Simien’s Adventures in Moviegoing
  • Justin Simien in Conversation

    Episode 1

    Justin Simien, the creator of DEAR WHITE PEOPLE and BAD HAIR, sits down with fellow filmmaker Janicza Bravo in this edition of Adventures in Moviegoing.


    Episode 2

  • Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take One

    Episode 3

    Directed by William Greaves • 1968 • United States
    Starring William Greaves, Patricia Ree Gilbert, Don Fellows

    In his one-of-a-kind fiction/documentary hybrid SYMBIOPSYCHOTAXIPLASM TAKE ONE, director William Greaves presides over a beleaguered film crew in New York’s Central Park, leaving them t...

  • Justin Simien on THE LEARNING TREE

    Episode 4

  • The Learning Tree

    Episode 5

    Directed by Gordon Parks • 1969 • United States
    Starring Kyle Johnson, Alex Clarke, Estelle Evans

    The first film directed by an African American for a major American studio, THE LEARNING TREE is a personal triumph for director-producer-writer-composer Gordon Parks. Adapted from his own autobiogr...

  • Justin Simien on LOSING GROUND

    Episode 6

  • Losing Ground

    Episode 7

    Directed by Kathleen Collins • 1982 • United States
    Starring Seret Scott, Bill Gunn, Duane Jones

    One of the first feature films directed by an African American woman, Kathleen Collins’s LOSING GROUND tells the story of a marriage between two remarkable people, both at a crossroads in their lives...

  • Justin Simien on ETHNIC NOTIONS

    Episode 8

  • Ethnic Notions

    Episode 9

    Directed by Marlon Riggs • 1986 • United States

    Marlon Riggs’s essential, Emmy-winning documentary takes viewers on a disturbing voyage through American history, tracing the deep-rooted stereotypes that have fueled anti-Black prejudice. Examining the racist depictions of African Americans that h...

  • Justin Simien on SIDEWALK STORIES

    Episode 10

  • Sidewalk Stories

    Episode 11

    Directed by Charles Lane • 1989 • United States
    Starring Charles Lane, Nicole Alysia, Tom Alpern

    An unsung miracle of American independent filmmaking, SIDEWALK STORIES reworks Charlie Chaplin’s slapstick classic THE KID for 1980s New York. Writer-director Charles Lane casts himself as a modern-d...

  • Justin Simien on TO SLEEP WITH ANGER

    Episode 12

  • To Sleep with Anger

    Episode 13

    Directed by Charles Burnett • 1990 • United States

    A slow-burning masterwork of the early 1990s, this third feature by Charles Burnett is a singular piece of American mythmaking. In a towering performance, Danny Glover plays the enigmatic southern drifter Harry, a devilish charmer who turns up o...

  • Justin Simien on DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST

    Episode 14

  • Daughters of the Dust

    Episode 15

    Directed by Julie Dash • 1991 • United States
    Starring Cora Lee Day, Alva Rogers, Barbara O. Jones

    Julie Dash’s rapturous vision of black womanhood and vanishing ways of life in the turn-of-the-century South was the first film directed by an African American woman to receive a wide release. In 1...