The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, November 3-December 6

repertory-ashes-and-embers

Ashes and Embers (1982)
Directed by Haile Gerima
Overshadowed by Charles Burnett, Julie Dash, and Billy Woodberry—directors of the 1960s LA Rebellion movement (a name he has come to detest)—Haile Gerima deserves praise. Look no further than the Ethiopian-born, American-raised filmmaker’s Ashes and Embers, an astounding associative film about Ned Charles (John Anderson), a black Vietnam veteran struggling to make it as an actor in LA only to end up handcuffed by the police off the freeway. Non-linear and possessing an improvisational rhythm, moving between past and present, between newsreel and fictional footage, Ashes and Embers taps into Ned Charles’s angry, explosive, and highly unstable headspace as he makes the difficult transition from war to civilian life. This is a film that exteriorizes the heavy brooding, inner turmoil of a black man who fought in a white war and who must go back to an oppressive white society. Listening to his grandmother’s experiences with slavery is Ned Charles’s only solace. As Gerima has said in interviews, Ashes and Embers pinpoints the moment when one stops, takes charge, and learns from past generations. Tanner Tafelski (December 5, 7pm at MoMA with Gerima in person)

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