Six Films by Camille Billops and James Hatch

Six Films by Camille Billops and James Hatch

7 Episodes

Trailblazing artist and polymath Camille Billops (1933–2019) and her partner in life and work, James Hatch (1928–2020), left behind invaluable legacies as archivists who worked tirelessly to preserve records of Black cultural life and as filmmakers who turned their unflinching camera on Billops’s own, often painful personal experiences. The films they made together, while grounded in documentary, use a range of techniques including reenactments, dramatization, and satire to illuminate the ways in which race, gender, and class shape everyday life. In their Family Trilogy—SUZANNE, SUZANNE; FINDING CHRISTA; and A STRING OF PEARLS—the pair cover more than thirty years of troubling truths from Billops’s own family, tackling issues of drug addiction, abuse, unwanted pregnancy, and motherhood with fearless honesty.

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Six Films by Camille Billops and James Hatch
  • Introducing Camille Billops and James Hatch

    Episode 1

    This interview with film professor Miriam J. Petty was recorded in 2021.

  • Suzanne, Suzanne

    Episode 2

    Directed by Camille Billops and James Hatch • 1982 • United States

    One of the many films that Camille Billops and James Hatch made centering on Billops’s family, SUZANNE, SUZANNE presents a devastating portrait of the artist’s niece, haunted by the abuse she suffered as a child and the passivity...

  • Older Women and Love

    Episode 3

    Directed by Camille Billops and James Hatch • 1987 • United States

    Through interviews and dramatizations, this taboo-shattering film offers a touching and often humorous look at social attitudes toward relationships between older women and younger men. The filmmakers are involved on both sides o...

  • Finding Christa

    Episode 4

    Directed by Camille Billops and James Hatch • 1991 • United States

    This startlingly personal documentary presents a moving yet unsentimental view of motherhood and adoption. It explores the feelings surrounding the reunion of a young woman with her birth mother twenty years after being given up ...

  • The KKK Boutique Ain’t Just Rednecks

    Episode 5

    Directed by Camille Billops and James Hatch • 1994 • United States

    Camille Billops and James Hatch trace the ways in which Americans have tried to ignore, deny, suppress, contain, tolerate, legislate, mock, and exploit racial discrimination within the United States. Like a modern-day Virgil and ...

  • Take Your Bags

    Episode 6

    Directed by Camille Billops • 1998 • United States

    Camille Billops explores the legacy of slavery and the theft of cultural memory.

  • A String of Pearls

    Episode 7

    Directed by Camille Billops and James Hatch • 2002 • United States

    In the final installment of her acclaimed Family Trilogy (which also includes SUZANNE, SUZANNE and FINDING CHRISTA), Camille Billops turns the camera on four generations of men in her family and considers the ways in which urban ...