News  ·  14 | 03 | 2019

A Note from the Curator of the Black Light Retrospective, Greg de Cuir Jr

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“The Locarno72 Retrospective presents a survey of international Black cinema of the twentieth century. These works are positioned as a cinéma d’auteur – for those who have not often been considered as such; a cinema that destabilizes the status quo, by any means necessary. The selected films and filmmakers speak to the contemporary moment from various points of departure: operating inside of the industry and against it, across all genres and modes, to uplift, to upset, to upend your expectations about the color black.

We cannot speak of one Black cinema any more than we can speak of one Africa. Therefore any such presentation of Black cinemas must embrace a solid internationalism. This particular survey focuses on Black cinemas from the Americas and Europe, sometimes with black artists behind the camera, sometimes without, but all of them contributing to moving the key conversations forward.

The Retrospective will prioritize feature-length works of all genres, primarily in the 35mm format. It will platform cineastes both widely celebrated and relatively unknown, as esteemed architects of new visual experiences. As a concept, as valence, like energy, Black is far from neutral. But Black is also an aesthetic, which can be comprehended as a history of film form, and which is greater than the sum of its shots and sequences. The Locarno72 Retrospective will measure this factor and offer a lens through which to project the myriad possibilities of an effective and empowering art. These films entertain, but they also adopt an explicit political position – in the name of a different cinema and a different world.”



Independent curator and writer Greg de Cuir Jr organizes the screening series Avant-Noir, which presents contemporary film and video work by artists concerned with visual representations of black culture in its various complex forms. First shown in three successive volumes at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the series has since been hosted at Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Kino Tuškanac in Zagreb and IU Cinema in Bloomington, Indiana. In 2018 de Cuir Jr was guest curator of the thematic section Black Material at the Experiments in Cinema Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico, bringing together the work of artists and film scholars who have explored Black moving image culture in alternative contexts. De Cuir is currently preparing the Black Material anthology for publication, writing a monograph on the Avant-Noir series and developing Avant-Noir Expanded, a multi-disciplinary gallery exhibition. He has organised programs for National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, Flaherty Film Seminar in New York, Los Angeles Filmforum, National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC, Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, and many other institutions. His writing has been published in Cineaste, Millennium Film Journal, Jump Cut, and more. An expanded second edition of his monograph Yugoslav Black Wave is forthcoming. De Cuir recently marked ten years as a selector for the festival Alternative Film Video in Belgrade, where he lives and works.


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