Let's give a rest to the debate over our so-called liberal media bias: Judging by this assemblage of Swedish TV footage taken from the Nixon era, that gentle nation had a (delightfully) radical slant. The Black Power Mix Tape 1967--1975 demonstrates that Sweden spent considerable effort witnessing the movement of the moment, with journalists sitting for chats with folks who rarely made it to American living rooms. The result, broadcast nightly and now pieced together, is a trove of essential testimony, from Stokely Carmichael interviewing his mother about his impoverished upbringing to a jailed---and, it must be said, luxuriantly Afroed---Angela Davis bringing her brand of intelligent ferocity to the matter of personal injustice.
The pieces here are wonderful, even if the documentary fails to make any kind of overall analytical point. (Modern-day aural contributions, like brain farts from an inarticulate Talib Kweli and some harsh soul music, may have you mourning more than the political movement.) Gran Olsson's doc is constructed in a sturdy if dunderheaded chronology, with huge onscreen years signaling the passing of time. But undeniably, something important is being reclaimed here. Like the group of Swedes we see passing through dangerous early-'70s Harlem on a tour bus, the issues are framed behind glass, yet an active audience will no doubt want to disembark and learn more.
Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf
Watch the trailer
|Release date:||Friday March 25 2011|