The first trailer for a critically-acclaimed new documentary based on an unfinished manuscript by gay author James Baldwin was released.
I Am Not Your Negro is described as ‘using Baldwin’s original words and flood of rich archival material’.
Magnolica Pictures said describe the documentary, which was directed by Raoul Peck and features voice-overs by Samuel L. Jackson, as ’a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America’, from the beginning of the civil rights movement to today’s Black Lives Matter protests.
I am Not Your Negro is based on Baldwin’s unfinished memoir manuscript Remember This House, an account of the lives and assassinations of three of Baldwin’s close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Baldwin only managed to write 30 pages before his death in 1987.
All of Jackson’s voice overs are lines directly taken from the manuscript, and Baldwin is heavily featured in archival clips.
‘There are days when you wonder what your role is in this country and what your future is in it,’ Baldwin says in an interview featured in the film.
‘I can’t be a pessimist, because I’m alive.’
In his other work, openly gay Baldwin – who was an activist, playwright, novelist and poet – fictionalized personal questions and looked at the social and psychological pressures faced by black people, but also gay and bi men.
One of his most famous works is the novel Giovanni’s Room, which has become a gay classic.
Since it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, I Am Not Your Negro has received rave reviews.
Variety’s Owen Gleiberman called it ‘a kaleidoscopic journey through the life and mind of James Baldwin, whose voice speaks even more powerfully today than it did 50 years ago.’
Jordan Hoffman, writing for the Guardian, said it was a ‘stunning look at the civil rights era’, while the Hollywood Reporter called it a ‘vividly intelligent documentary’.
I Am Not Your Negro will hit selected theatres on 3 February.
Watch the full trailer below: