It’s impossible to concisely explain the importance of Raoul Peck‘s I Am Not Your Negro in under 2000 words. It simply cannot be done. In attempting to adapt James Baldwin’s unfinished final novel, “Remember This House,” the masterful Haitian filmmaker has created both a fascinating, detailed chronicle of one of the most progressive and lyrical minds of the last century in Baldwin and a powerful, wounding document of the black American experience in the U.S.A. And in serving as Baldwin’s posthumous voice, Samuel L. Jackson does some of his best work to date, constantly yet never obtrusively aware of his tone and enjoying finding his own rhythm with the pronunciation of each word Baldwin penned.
The latest trailer for I Am Not Your Negro may not give a full idea of the scope of Peck’s movie but it should give viewers even passingly interested in how black Americans are treated here something to chew on, regardless. The movie was released briefly, for awards consideration, in late 2016, but it will see a wider release on February 3rd. Either way, it should quickly take its place next to 13th, O.J.: Made in America, and The Interrupters as a crucial cinematic work on the subject of race and racism in America.
Here’s the latest trailer for I Am Not Your Negro:
Here’s the official synopsis for I Am Not our Negro:
In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.
At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of this manuscript.
Now, in his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s original words and flood of rich archival material. I Am Not Your Negro is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. It is a film that questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond. And, ultimately, by confronting the deeper connections between the lives and assassination of these three leaders, Baldwin and Peck have produced a work that challenges the very definition of what America stands for.