As we were settling down to talk, Raoul Peck asked me about the name of my web site, KillerMovieReviews.com. When I told him it was a nod to the fact that I take no prisoners when it comes to bad movies, he laughed and said that was exactly the resolve with which he went into making I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO. It shows, This is a documentary that presents James Baldwin as a profoundly original thinker, unfettered by any ideology other than humanism. Told entirely through Baldwin’s words, some from his unpublished manuscript, Remember this House, some from his writings, some from clips of him on talk shows at a time when such shows were not afraid to be serious, I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO traces the man’s intellectual development, as well as his position as an equal-opportunity gadfly, taking both the Black Panthers and the NAACP to task for their failings.
When we spoke on November 7, 2016, is was the day after a sold-out preview screening of his film, and we started our conversation with Peck telling me about his discovery of Baldwin’s writings as the age of 15, and gaining access to the notes for his final novel, Remember this House, being true to Baldwin’s spirit, looking at familiar news footage in a new way, and the difference between narration and performance. Peck’s previous work includes SOMETIMES IN APRIL, about the Rawandan Genocide, and the narrative bio-pic, LUMUMBA, about the first democratically elected leader of the Congo.
NB: An ambulance siren can be heard in the distance starting at 15:01 – 15:29
At 22:15, Mr. Peck uses the “n”word.