Steve Fortes

Episode 104: African American Cinema / The Post

Paul Robeson in  The Emperor Jones  (1933)

Paul Robeson in The Emperor Jones (1933)

Description

On the first segment of today’s show, host Tom Breen is joined by New Haven film critic and lecturer Steve Fortes to talk about the history of African American cinema.

In the early 1990s, Steve taught two seminars at Yale University about the history of African American film and television. On today’s show we’ll talk with Steve about the films that he covered in those two seminars, what he saw as some of the prevailing themes and trends of in the first century of African American cinema, and about which movies and filmmakers he would include today if he were teaching the same course in 2018.

On the second segment of the show, Breen is joined by New Haven Independent staff writer Allan Appel for a review of THE POST, Steven Spielberg’s new movie about the 1971 debate within the editorial ranks of The Washington Post about whether or not to publish Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers, classified documents that revealed decades of executive branch deceit and cynicism that prolonged America’s disastrous involvement in the Vietnam War. We’ll talk about how this movie resonates in 2018 as a celebration of the free press, and as an indictment of the hypermasculine industries of newspapers and politics in the early 1970s.

Episode 100: Steven Spielberg's Amistad (1997)

One panel of the Amistad Memorial, designed by Ed Hamilton, that stands outside of New Haven's City Hall. (Photo by Thomas Breen)

One panel of the Amistad Memorial, designed by Ed Hamilton, that stands outside of New Haven's City Hall. (Photo by Thomas Breen)

Description

This marks the 20th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s AMISTAD, a 1997 historical drama about a successful revolt among enslaved Africans aboard a Cuban slave ship in 1839, those Africans’ subsequent recapture and detention in, among other places, New Haven, Connecticut, and the subsequent landmark United States court cases that resulted in the Africans’ freedom. 

On today’s episode, host Tom Breen talks with Yale Film Studies Center director Michael Kerbel, Gilder Lehrman Center postdoctoral associate Joseph Yannielli and local film critic and lecturer Steve Fortes about Spielberg’s take on the Amistad uprising and trials, how themovie holds up two decades after its initial release, and how it resonates for audiences in New Haven where this story is so widely celebrated as one of this city’s primary connections to an international history of anti-slavery and civil rights.

Links

Treasures from the Yale Film Archive screening of AMISTAD: http://calendar.yale.edu/cal/event/eventView.do?b=de&calPath=%2Fpublic%2Fcals%2FMainCal&guid=CAL-ff808081-5e1b392f-015e-3451c399-000079e4bedework@yale.edu&recurrenceId=

New Haven Independent article about Marcus Rediker's documentary GHOSTS OF AMISTAD: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/a_peoples_history_of_the_amistad/ 

Joseph Yannielli's talk on "“The Mendi Mission and the African Rehearsal for Reconstruction”": http://calendar.yale.edu/cal/event/eventView.do?b=de&calPath=%2Fpublic%2Fcals%2FMainCal&guid=CAL-ff808081-5e1b392f-015e-3946e364-00000183bedework@yale.edu&recurrenceId=