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The First Definitive James Baldwin Documentary Is In The Works

Yesterday we celebrated what would have been James Baldwin‘s 92nd birthday. The acclaimed novelist and essayist has written some of the most important pieces on race and sexuality in American literary history, and has become something of an icon as a result. And though his work has been well circulated and cherished by countless throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, a definitive Baldwin documentary has never seen the light of day. As Shadow And Act points out, the closest thing to it was the 1964 day-in-the-life piece Take This Hammer, a 44-minute doc that follows Baldwin through San Francisco as he attempts to learn and connect to the city’s black communities. 

According to that same Shadow And Act post, Haitian film director Raoul Peck has spent the last 6 years developing a documentary on Baldwin based on the premise that the writer had completed his masterpiece on assassinated civil rights heroes Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Medgar Evers, despite his claims of having never written it due to a lack of commercial appeal. Best of all, the film is being made with the blessing of the Baldwin estate, though no release date has been shared just yet. And even if we have to wait another decade for a true blue James Baldwin documentary, it’ll be well worth the anticipation. Stay tuned for more on the film and its production in the months ahead.

h/t Shadow And Act

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