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Celebrating Black Excellence in Film

by Sarah Soliman

“I think Black people have to be in control of their own image because film is a powerful medium. We can’t just sit back and let other people define our existence.” — Spike Lee

In February, The Picture House joins the country in celebrating Black History Month the best way we know how, by showcasing the talent of Black filmmakers telling important stories in two seminal films. In Pelham, we’ll offer screenings of Spike Lee’s influential 1989 film, Do the Right Thing, and in Bronxvillle, the critically acclaimed Till, named a Top Ten Film of 2022 by the National Board of Review. Taking place in early February, these screenings will be available to the public for a pay-what-you-wish donation.

Do the Right Thing screens at The Picture House Pelham on Sunday, Feb. 5 and Sunday, Feb. 12. Both screenings take place at 5:00 pm. Till screens at The Picture House Bronxville on Monday, Feb. 6 and Monday, Feb. 13. Both screenings take place at 7:00 pm. 

Spike Lee’s influential movie Do the Right Thing takes place over the course of a sweltering summer day in Brooklyn, during which racial tensions run high, erupting in violence and tragedy. The film screened at the Cannes Film Festival and was awarded by the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the Boston Society of Film Critics, among others. Searing and visceral, Do the Right Thing is widely considered to be one of the greatest American films ever made, named by Roger Ebert to his Great Movies list and ranking on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years 100 Movies poll and Sight and Sound magazine’s Greatest Films of All Time critic’s poll.

Till, from directorChinonye Chukwu, tells the true story of Mamie Till-Mobley, who became a leading Civil Rights activist following the lynching of her 14-year-old son, Emmett, in 1950s Mississippi. The film is one of the most critically heralded of 2022. Danielle Deadwyler, previously seen in Netflix’s The Harder They Fall, and HBO’s Station Eleven and Watchmen, has garnered accolades for her role as Mamie Till-Mobley, winning the Gotham Independent Film Award for Outstanding Lead Performance and the National Board of Review Award for Best Breakthrough Performance. Deadwyler is also nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award for her performance in Till. 

About the Black History Month programming Director of Programming, Clayton Bushong, said “We’re proud to celebrate the work of Black filmmakers telling vital stories, and are excited to screen one of the all-time classics of American cinema alongside a new film that showcases great talent both behind and in front of the camera. Community is an integral part of the Picture House mission, and we hope everyone interested in these films and their filmmakers will join us.”