Bush Mama

L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 7:00pm

Filmmaker Haile Gerima in person! New print!
Introduction by Jacqueline Stewart, co-curator of L.A. Rebellion at UCLA.

Inspired after having seen a Black woman in Chicago evicted in the middle of winter, director Haile Gerima blends fiction, documentary, surrealism and political outrage in his unflinching portrait of a pregnant welfare recipient in Watts. At times shockingly realistic — the film opens with actual footage of the LAPD harassing Gerima and his crew during shooting — Bush Mama explores the different forces that act on Dorothy (the magnetic Barbara O. Jones) in her oppressive daily dealings with social workers and the local welfare office. Determined to protect her daughter and unborn child following the incarceration of her partner T.C. (Johnny Weathers), Dorothy undergoes an ideological transformation from apathy and passivity to empowered action. An unrelenting and powerfully moving look at the realities of inner-city poverty and the systemic disenfranchisement of African Americans, as well as an unforgiving critique of the US surveillance state and the tyranny of unchecked police power, Bush Mama is ultimately uplifting as it chronicles Dorothy's awakening political consciousness and her realization of her own self-worth.
(Haile Gerima, 1975, 16mm, 97 min)

Preceded by:
Daydream Therapy
Bernard Nicolas, 1977, digibeta, 8 min
Activist turned filmmaker Bernard Nicolas poetically envisions the fantasy life of a hotel worker whose daydreams provide an escape from workplace indignities.

Presented in association with UCLA Film & Television Archive and supported in part by grants from the Getty Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The series is curated by Allyson Nadia Field, Jan-Christopher Horak, Shannon Kelley and Jacqueline Stewart. Complete details on UCLA’s L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema initiative here.

University of Chicago Arts Council, Franke Institute for the Humanities, Tom Gunning/Mellon Fund, UC Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture, Logan Center for the Arts, Conversations at the Edge, Block Cinema, Black Cinema House.