America

by Garrett Bradley

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According to the Library of Congress, around 70 percent of all feature-length films made in the US between 1912 and 1929 no longer exist. In America (2019), artist and filmmaker Garrett Bradley imagines Black figures from the early decades of the 20th century whose lives have been lost to history. Inspired by the earliest surviving feature film Lime Kiln Club Field Day (1914), with an all-black cast, and through a series of vignettes rooted in New Orleans, America challenges the idea of Black cinema as a wave or “movement in time,” proposing instead a continuous thread of achievement.

“I see America as a model for how…the assembly of images can serve as an archive of the past as well as a document of the present,” Bradley has said.

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