3 Films To See At the 3rd Annual St. Louis Classic Black Film Festival This Weekend

By Krystin Arneson
In Culture

The 3rd Annual St. Louis Classic Black Film Festival takes place this weekend, Oct. 9-11, at Missouri History Museum—featuring a focus on the leading ladies. We spoke with the festival’s organizer, well-known film critic James Thomas, about his top three picks for the weekend:

“Imitation of Life”
“Back in the ’50s, life for African-Americans was harsh. There were a few who were so light-skinned, they could pass for ‘white,’ making life a little easier and bearable. This is a story of a young girl doing just that—ignoring her heritage and own mother to live a better life. One of the great things about this story happens at the end of the film, a very emotional scene that doesn’t leave a dry eye in the house. It’s starring Juanita Jones, Lana Turner and Sandra Dee.”

Photo courtesy of Thompson.

Photo courtesy of Thomas.

“Carmen Jones”
“An African-American opera based on the stage production of the same name directed by Oscar Hammerstein II. The film version is directed by Otto Preminger, starring Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte and set during World War II.”

Image courtesy of Thomas.

Image courtesy of Thomas.

“Foxy Brown”
“During the era in the early ’70s, Hollywood discovered that African-Americans were hungry to see movies with them as the main characters and story line. A lot of these films were labeled “Black Exploitation” movies [that took] advantage of the black dollar. One of the better films and actresses during this time was “Foxy Brown” starring Pam Grier. With her role—sexy, sassy and with a bad attitude—Pam Grier become one of the hottest commodities in Hollywood.”

Here’s the rest of the lineup for the festival:

Friday, Oct. 9
6-7:30pm “Imitation of Life”
7:50p-9pm “Anna Lucasta”

Saturday, Oct. 10
1-2:20pm “Claudine”
2:40-4pm “Cabin in the Sky”
4:20p-6pm “Carmen Jones”
6:20p-8:15pm  “Sounder”

Sunday, Oct. 11
1-2:30pm “Jackie Robinson Story”
3-4:30pm “Foxy Brown”

It’s a great event to bring the parents (or grandparents) to—AARP members get in free. More information can be found at states.aarp.org.

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