L.A. Rebellion film series hits Philly screens

With screenings of three diverse and fascinating films on Saturday, International House kicked off its monthlong series, “L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema.” With nine more programs planned over the next several Saturdays (and one Wednesday), “L.A. Rebellion” is one of the largest series undertaken by I-House’s programmers. The films were all recently restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive as part of the multi-institution “Pacific Standard Time” exhibition.

“There was a desire on my part and the organization’s part to do something a little larger,” says curator Jesse Pires. “Presenting a whole month’s worth of programming can really get people excited. It generates a sustained interest in film culture and in looking at something that was new and exciting at the time. We always want to capture that kind of energy with our programming.”

L.A. Rebellion refers to a loosely affiliated group of African-American filmmakers who entered UCLA’s film program in the late 1960s and created an independent cinematic alternative to the

prevailing Hollywood depiction of black culture at the time.

“It’s a diverse group of filmmakers and films,” Pires says of the series, which includes filmmakers like Julie Dash, Charles Burnett and Larry Clark. “I think that the general spirit of the L.A. Rebellion was to counteract the dominant themes of Hollywood cinema. They looked at other movements in cinema like Italian neo-realism as well as bringing in this general spirit of ’60s radicalism.”

The next installment of the series takes place this Saturday with three programs: Billy Woodberry’s “Bless Their Little Hearts,” Zeinabu Irene Davis’ “Compensation,” and Clark’s “Passing Through,” each with accompanying short films.

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