Rewriting the History of the Black Panthers on Film | ARTINFO

February 18, 2015 9:46 PM

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Rewriting the History of the Black Panthers on Film | ARTINFO

Some documentaries simply report history. Others try to rewrite it. "The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution" belongs to the latter group and is better for it. Making its New York premiere on February 13 as the opening film of the Museum of Modern Art's annual Documentary Fortnight festival, "Vanguard" sets out to move against the dominant narrative of the activist group as outrageous provocateurs, presenting to the audience, through vigorous archival research and extensive interviews with members and commentators, a different and more considerate way of thinking about the legacy of the Black Panthers and how it has affected the contemporary political landscape.

Even at roughly two hours, there is no way a theatrically released film would be able to fit, in any meaningful way, the entire history of a group like the Black Panthers. There are many histories here, many stories to be told, and the group, especially due to its scattered emergence -- although its...

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