The film, while well-made on a technical level, feels more like a collection of moments than a full and satisfying narrative.
Stanley Nelson's acclaimed documentary, "The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution," will premiere tonight—Tuesday, February 16th—on PBS Independent Lens at 9pm EST/8pm CST. A live viral discussion will accompany the telecast on Twitter via #BlackPanthersPBS. Public conversation inspired by the film will continue in various neighborhood gatherings, courtesy of the Indie Lens Pop-Up program.
Nelson's film was named one of the Top Five Documentaries of 2015 by the National Board of Review, and has earned praise from various critics, including our own Odie Henderson, who awarded the film three-and-a-half stars on RogerEbert.com. "A river of protest soul music runs through the film, underscoring the visuals and influencing the smart editing choices by Aljernon Tunsil," wrote Henderson in his review. "He and Nelson traverse a structured arc as if designing great drama, presenting a slew of talking heads, film clips and rarely seen photographs. The film avoids hagiography, and in doing so, brings out the undeniable humanity of its subjects."
In an extensive interview, Nelson spoke with RogerEbert.com contributor Sergio Mims about the film. "The Black Panthers did not come out of a vacuum," Nelson told Mimd. "They rose out of the traditional civil rights movement. They rose out of the anti-Vietnam War movement. The anti-war movement is central to this whole narrative. Back then, you were in a space where any man in this country of draft age could be snatched up and taken into the jungle, given a gun and told to fight. So that politicized everybody."
For more info on the telecast, visit the official site of PBS Independent Lens.
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