Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

A Place of Rage

  • Rating: ****
  • Audience: High School to Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $90.00
  • Date: Copyright 1991. Released 1992.
  • Descriptors: Blacks - Women. Women - Political activity. Davis, Angela. Jordan, June.
  • Production Information: Live action, Archival footage, Stills. Produced by Pratibha Parmar. Directed by Pratibha Parmar. Color, b&w. Also available in 16 mm. 52 min.
  • Available from: Women Make Movies 462 Broadway, 5th Floor New York, NY 10013 (212)925-0606
  • Cataloging: 323.092 Davis, Angela Yvonne, 1944- - Interviews||Jordan, June, 1936- - Interviews||Afro-American women civil rights workers
  • Print Entry #: 5:87
  • Reviewer: Paula C. Murphy

    This documentary is about African-American women activists. It is largely composed of interviews with African-American educator, writer, and political activist Angela Davis and African-American poet and professor June Jordan, who talk about their experiences and attitudes as women of color in the United States. Their commentary is highlighted with the insights of African-American writer Alice Walker and Asian filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha, who briefly appear to give their opinions on the role of women as activists in the United States in the past and the present. Davis and Jordan discuss the civil rights movement and the importance of such strong black women as Rosa Parks and Fannie Lou Hamer. While Davis talks about her involvement with the Black Panther Party in the 1970s, Jordan is shown reading her powerful poetry. Davis is shown in jail in a rare historical interview, in footage from the 1970s, giving a speech today, at home, and currently working with women at the San Francisco County Jail. Jordan is also shown at home and in her office. The program concludes with Davis and Jordan talking about questions of racism and its link to the gay and lesbian movement, drugs, the future of young African Americans, and the continuing importance of the role of African-American women as activists in American society.

    The technical aspects are excellent and professional. The outstanding editing combines the interviews, scenes of other black women, artistically presented street scenes, artwork, and dance performances with historical photographs and footage from the civil rights movement. Every image is important. The camerawork and lighting are sensitive to the people being interviewed and help to describe their personalities. Many of the backgrounds used behind speakers, such as photographs of famous black women from Brian Lanker's book I Dream a World, visually reinforce the subject. The most important technique, however, is the use of music by Prince, Janet Jackson, Sister Rosa, the Neville Brothers, and the Staple Singers. The music moves the visual montages along and emphasizes the spoken messages of the work in an entertaining way.

    A Place of Rage is appropriate for public, school, and college and university library collections serving patrons interested in African-American studies, women's studies, sociology, political science, literature, US history, and, due to the strength of this presentation, film studies. While college and university researchers may find the rare interview footage of Davis interesting primary source material, public libraries may find that the entertaining music helps to make this a good title to use in programs. Because there is a need for maturity in order to understand the concepts presented and some of the language used, this video would be best for high school to adult audiences. Although the length of the interviews are not balanced, this well-constructed and informative work is highly recommended.

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