- Editor’s Notes
This issue of Black Camera marks the seventh year of publication—time enough to reflect upon our work to date, as it is to consider the future of the journal. I can say with assurance that the past six volumes substantiate the journal’s authority and ever increasing attention from scholars in the field of black cinema studies. Our essays and interviews are frequently cited in the literatures; the dossiers are timely and unique; we’ve offered Close-Ups on particular films and filmmakers that readers say are comprehensive and compelling.
Indeed, Black Camera has found—rather created—its niche and now, too, its stride as we engage anew with all manner of documenting and exploring the black cinematic experience worldwide.
The contents of this issue exemplify this varied and exciting new research. In the first of this issue’s essays, Michael W. Thomas looks at the underexamined topic of Ethiopia’s film industry and its place as a distinct variant of African cinema. Next, Robin Hayes chronicles the practice of African American doctoral students at Yale University making the documentary Black and Cuba (2014).
Consider, too, this issue’s Close-Up on fugitivity, the cinematic and literary subgenre evoking, as it invokes, slavery’s trauma and aftermath. Three essays address director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (2013). Frank B. Wilderson III’s piece foregrounds the “incomprehensibility of the slave’s ontological dilemma,” Rizvana Bradley’s the tropes that gesture toward a “spectacle of sufferance,” and Shana L. Redmond’s correspondences of the visual and sonic in representations of the slave dialectic. Looking at Quentin Tarantino’s genre-bending Django Unchained (2012), James Edward Ford III situates the film in archetypes of the “black legendary.”
More still, on offer in this Close-Up: Autumn Womack’s take on two short films by Zora Neale Hurston, which she argues point to the limitations of the evidentiary in documenting black life; a reassessment of 1980s black British independent cinema by David Marriott; and M. Shadee Malaklou’s examination of the “chronopolitics of social death” and reinvention in black performance. [End Page 1]
This issue also features the second edition of the African Woman in Cinema Dossier, in which we present the first part of two fascinating installments by Beti Ellerson on teaching African women in cinema. In our ongoing Africultures Dossier, Olivier Barlet provides a lengthy review of FESPACO 2015.
Also of note is this issue’s Archival Spotlight, in which Whitney Strub gives a compelling overview of the Baraka Film Archive, devoted to the late poet, essayist, and activist Amiri Baraka, whose directorial credits include the short films Black Spring (1967) and The New-Ark (1968).
This issue concludes with book reviews, archival news, and professional notes and research resources. With work for the next issue well under way, Black Camera reaffirms its commitment to innovative and meaningful scholarship on the black film experience. [End Page 2]