Tag Archives: Il Cinema Ritrovato

Thinking Aloud About Film: Bushman (David Schickele, 1971)

BUSHMAN (David Schickele, 1971) is a real discovery, already the subject of much excitement when shown at Ritrovato in Bologna, and now made available to us through Cinema Re-Discovered this coming weekend, where it is being screened Sunday 30th of July at 18.30. Set in 1968, in the context of the murders of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, with the Nigerian Civil War in its second year, the film centres around the experiences of Gabriel (Paul Eyam Nzie Opokam), a Nigerian graduate student also teaching at San Francisco State College, the cross-cultural experiences he’s afforded, and the different types of racism he encounters. In the accompanying podcast, we discuss the film’s beauty, its politics, how it fluidly seems to condense so many of the burning issues in Black American cinema in the following four decades, and the important shifts in register near the film’s end. A really great film, so far little known, in a superb restoration by Milestone Films,  that’s bound to encourage much discussion, as indeed it did with us.

The podcast may be listened to here:

The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT

and on itunes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/first-impressions-thinking-aloud-about-film/id1548559546

The Cinema Re-Discovered Program may be seen below and also accessed here: wat_cr2023_a4_schedule_online_web (1)

For those interested, this is an interesting article on a film David Schickeles made earlier for, and during his time at, the Peace Corps:


Making David Schickele’s (Nigeria) Peace Corps film “Give Me A Riddle”

José Arroyo

Hollywood Home Movies From The Academy Film Archive (USA, 1931-1970)

Hollywood Home Movies From The Academy Film Archive (USA, 1931-1970)

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Il Cinema Ritrovato showcased a program of home movies donated to The Academy Film Archive and, in this instance, narrated live by Michael Pogorzelski, who told us where these movies came from (Fred McMurray, Douglas Fairbanks Jr’s estate, etc.) and who was in them (the audience sometimes seemed to know more than Pogorzelski). The collection of short home movies was exciting to see because these people figure in our pasts, sometimes in an intimate way, so this was a way of making part of their private life intersect with part of ours.

It was wonderful to see Randolph Scott gently stroke Cary Grant’s shoulder in a the way familiar to anyone who’s ever been in a couple, as a gesture, tender but proprietary, that only established couples do to let the other know they’re there, besides them, and that they are thinking of them, with love. And perhaps to let others know to buzz off – that person’s taken, mine. That gesture did more to convince me of something between those two, than all the gossip I’ve heard and photos I’ve seen thus far.

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I loved seeing: Marlene Dietrich and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. pretending to be Tyrolean peasants in their huge mansion-size ‘little cottage’ whilst changing into dozens of outfits; Cary Grant, more handsome than I’ve ever seen with practically no upper lip and a lower lip three times the size of anyone I know, on the set of Gunga Din; some rare colour footage of Carole Lombard, always the liveliest and most beautiful person in any film she graces, including these home movies; Fred McMurray’s home movies, in three-strip technicolor, and showing him as the athletic and handsome leading man he was but that can be so difficult to detect in some of his films, particularly the later ones, or for that generation of people who grew up with him as a Disney star or as the father in My Three Sons. Also who knew he was a blond?

I adored also the footage of one of Hearst’s 1930s parties, all of the stars on their best behaviour, like at the boss’ house, and pretending to enjoy the prank of a shaft of air being wooshed up lady’s dresses from below. Marilyn was to be shown enjoying a heightened and eroticised version of this two decades later in The Seven Year Itch. But practically every ‘30s star you care to mention is shown here in that very human contradiction of being extremely annoyed and trying to have the good manners not to show it, particularly to someone who’s got power over one’s job. It felt a privilege to have been able to see these films.

José Arroyo