When Göran Hugo Olsson accidentally stumbled upon footage of the Black Power movement whilst browsing the Swedish Television archives, he knew that he wanted to share it with the world. The result is Black Power Mixtape, a compilation feature documentary which might have been an exotic topic for its creator, but still manages to capture a period rich with significance historically, socially, and even musically.
However, this isn’t a film of just speeches and images of riots – we are also treated to unguarded, funny, and tender moments. We see Stokely Carmichael talking with his mother, Angela Davis speaking with a freedom the US press would not have allowed and we see heart-warming and heartbreaking clips with people who are unknown but not unimportant.
By focusing on the humanity and not the militancy of the Black Power movement, Olsson has created a film that is both accessible and relatable to anyone. The significance of this time is also beautifully contextualised by contemporary audio commentary from the likes of Erykah Badu, Talb Kweli, and even Angela Davis herself. Still at 96 minutes long, it can only ever scratch the surface – but where it’s light on content and a clear editorial thread (hence the “mixtape” reference), it’s made up by a head-nodding film score provided by Questlove and Om’Mas – a fitting backdrop to a moment in history that still bears relevance today. (Words: Femi Martin)
In cinemas October 21st. For more info visit: www.blackpowermixtape.com