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Brandon Harris Curates “Strange Fruit” Series at Metrograph in Honor of Black History Month

A Black man and woman are in a room together. The woman sits on the bed looking away from the camera while the man stands a few feet away and looks straight at her.Gloria Madison and Richard Wright in Native Son.

Brandon Harris—an educator, programmer, author, producer, director, executive as well as a longtime contributing editor at Filmmaker—has curated a series at Metrograph in commemoration of Black History Month. Entitled “Strange Fruit,” the series features an impressive slate of titles spanning several decades, from Pierre Chenal’s black and white Argentine drama Native Son to Billy Woodberry’s seminal L.A. Rebellion film Bless Their Little Hearts

The opening night selection, which played on Sunday, February 5, was Elvis Mitchell’s NYFF-premiering essay film Is That Black Enough for You?!? Several special screenings have also been programmed, including Del Lord’s 1927 silent film Topsy and Eva accompanied by a live score by pianist Axel Tosca on February 25. On the same day, a screening of Larry Clark’s 1977 ode to the thoroughly Black origins of jazz culture Passing Through will feature a pre-recorded interview with the L.A. Rebellion director and Harris. 

“To commemorate Black History Month, Strange Fruit collects a handful of unusual, eclectic and incendiary movies—one from each decade, starting roughly at the end of the silent era through to the end of the Vietnam War—that, for one reason or several, hardly feel like they should exist,” Harris wrote in a statement on the Metrograph website. “From Depression-era Christianist propaganda as high camp to a forgotten blackface-ridden comedic re-imagining of the first abolitionist lit classic to a Midwestern American Negro’s paean to Second City alienation as translated by a Frenchman in Argentina, these are movies that normally don’t make the Black Exceptionalist highlight reel but should.”

For more information regarding screenings and showtimes, visit the Metrograph website. And check out Harris’s intro to the series below.

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