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Inspired by Deborah Willis' book, Reflections in Black, THROUGH A LENS DARKLY (Willis is also a co-producer) casts a broad net that begins with filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris’s family album. It considers the difference between black photographers who use the camera to define themselves, their people, and their culture and some white photographers who, historically, have demeaned African-Americans through racist imagery. The film embraces both historical material (African-Americans who were slaves, who fought in the Civil War, were victims of lynchings, or were pivotal in the Civil Rights Movement) and contemporary images made by such luminaries as Roy DeCarava, Gordon Parks, and Carrie Mae Weems. The film is a cornucopia of Americana that reveals deeply disturbing truths about the history of race relations while expressing joyous, life-affirming sentiments about the ability of artists and amateurs alike to assert their identity through the photographic lens.
Note: The Digital Diaspora Family Reunion Roadshow is an interactive project that ties-in with the film. For more details, go to www.1World1Family.me.
USA • 2014 • 92 MINS. • First Run Features