Listen: Los Angeles's Lucas Museum acquires major archive of African American cinema
"The Lucas Museum. Am hasn't yet opened. Its doors but the narrative art space just announced a major acquisition an extensive archive of Black American cinema movie. Posters and film stills stills called separate cinema. The Lucas Museum is currently under construction at Exposition Park near downtown. La It's scheduled to open in late twenty twenty anyone. The museum's film curator is Ryan Linkov Ryan. Welcome to the frame. Thank you for having me. The collection is called separate cinema. Can you explain lane. What's behind the name and how it defines what is included in the archive? We're actually just having this conversation with the founder of the Archive John. Kish the name. It comes out of a specific historical moment specifically the first half of the twentieth century. The Twenties Thirties and forties in particular which saw the proliferation of a film industry really defined around African American filmmakers producers directors actors really kind of films made four and by an African American audience and in a way those existed outside of the mainstream methods of making movies and the distribution channels. So they really were in some weighs a separate track Film production distribution and consumption. For that reason I think it's a way of kind of identifying the ways in which a film home industry kind of developed for particular market that is in some ways obviously always entwined in broader mainstream history but also has its own kind of internal integrity that said the materials in the collection are both made by black filmmakers for black audiences and obviously films produced by the mainstream mainstream majority white film. Production Industry for broader. Is this as well. I WANNA play a clip from a film from nineteen. Forty three is called a cabinet in the sky. As it's hard. Lena Horne Ethel waters and Eddie Anderson. Interestingly it was directed by Vincente Minnelli who did G G in American in Paris. But listen to this good example of what you're talking about in terms MM separate cinema. It's a scene from a cabin in the sky. Nail Right Reverend. When you call on the Senate confessed he better sign me the rest of the evening or oh? You're not that bad Joseph so when you think about this period in film history why is this period so important and understanding how we got where we are. Today I would say it's really in some ways. Essential to understand understand the ways in which especially the Hollywood studio system both developed a culture of representing African Americans that was on the one hand quite pernicious in the way that it represented very entrenched Stereotypes of the African American experience and on the other there were attempts such as cabin in the sky to produce films homes that were at least making an attempt to speak and more sensitive and thoughtful ways to African American audience by featuring major iconic figures within the African American community and also figures who had a broader kind of popular appeal. And this kind of push pull this tension between trying to both represent the African American experience and also kind of in some ways exploiting a capitalizing on particular stereotypes. I think are really kind of something that will continue tend to live with and continues to play itself out in certain ways and I think understanding this broader history especially that kind of early days the first half of the twentieth century when the entire film industry in some ways was most thoroughly coming into shape. I think really helps us understand and explain where we are at the present moment. We're talking with Ryan Linkov Film Curator Raider for the Lucas Museum. To ask you about the collection itself. There are thousands of items in it. What was John Kish up to? And how did he. He assembled all of these things. Well so he's been collecting release since I believe the nineteen seventies and acquiring this collection piece by piece through a variety of different outlets through auctions. Private collections need did develop. What is by most measures the most impressive and comprehensive archive of material related to African American cinema Really with the intent of creating an archive that was available for both scholarly early research and also public programming and exhibitions to really highlight celebrate explore and examine the broader history of African American cinema across the twentieth century. And into the twenty I and he continues to be in conversations with us as new things come auction and that kind of thing so we really want to continue that legacy and also make it in the same ways as accessible for the research and for their conceptualization of the history of African American cinema. I WANNA play a clip from another movie. That is a seminal example of black black cinema. This is one thousand nine hundred eighty nine. Do the right thing in this scene. We're going to hear from a character named Radio Raheem who played by. Bill is always always fighting. The other hand you left hand is kicking much. I mean it looks like the right hand. Love is finished but hold on stop depressed. Rest of the writing is coming back. He's got the best roads now. Strike the devastating right. Oh Hey Kale. I love the scene and it made me wonder about how much film presentation and screenings will. We'll be part of what this collection is going to be about. Are People going to be able to see movies. Are you do screenings and conversations around those films so some programming will be he and major part of the museum's mission going forward. We will have to state of the art theater for film programming and It's great that you played a clip from do the right thing because we are actually organizing a film program. In February February eighth that will feature do the right thing As well as the Whiz we actually the collaboration aberration with Los Angeles County Museum of art and this is really our first attempt at putting together a film program. I think you're scheduled to open in late. Twenty twenty one. We know uh-huh maybe the Academy Museum hasn't quite met its deadlines. Are you pretty hopeful that we will have a museum by the end of next year. We are on schedule to to be substantially complete with construction by the end of twenty twenty. One we haven't announced an actual opening day for the public But everything's moving ahead Ryan Linkov is filmed curator. The Lucas Museum which just acquired the separate cinema archive a collection of black American Cinema Ryan. Thanks so much for coming on the"