American Pictures: A Personal Journey Through Black America

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  • Documentaries
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For five years Jacob Holdt, a former Danish palace guard, hitchhiked around the United States, selling his blood twice a week to buy film for his camera. The result is this vast collection of stills, linked by Holdt's narrative and occasional interviews as he trudges through a land raddled by racial persecution, bigotry, chronic poverty and the enduring legacy of slavery. Here is America with its pants down: utter hopelessness in the land of plenty. By turns indignant, self-righteous, sympathetic and, occasionally, leadenly aphoristic - 'You can learn more about society from a black prostitute in a night than you can from ten universities' - this nevertheless adds up to a rare and moving indictment of the conditions that cause and foster racialism.

Release details

Duration: 280 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jacob Holdt