After her partner T.C. got sent to prison, Dorothy is the only one responsible for her daughter and unborn child. Through the disputes with child service and its social workers, she learns to let go of her passive attitude. She is oppressed as a person in need as well as an African-American woman – her growing political awareness helps her become a self-empowered person. Director Haile Gerima blends narrative fiction, documentary, surrealism and political modernism in this unflinching story about a pregnant welfare recipient in Watts.
Digital presentation courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
THE CRY OF JAZZ
Cast: Barbara O. Jones, Johnny Weathers, Susan Williams, Cora Lee Day
Screenplay: Haile Gerima
Director of Photography: Charles Burnett, Roderick Young
Film Editor: Haile Gerima
Composer: Onaje Kareem Kenyatta
Producer: Haile Gerima
Director: Haile Gerima
Haile Gerima was born in Ethiopia in 1946. He emigrated to the U.S at the age of 21. After studying acting for a while, he transferred to UCLA to major in theater, film and TV. That’s where he became an active member of the “L.A. Rebellion”, a group of African and African-American students, who expressed their own history and language in their films. BUSH MAMA (1975) was his graduate film. HARVEST: 3000 YEARS (1976), which he shot in Ethiopia, won the award for best film at Locarno Film Festival. One of his other successful movies was ASHES & EMBERS (1982). Throughout his career, he kept finding inspiration in his own culture and created films like WILMINGTON 10 – U.S.A. 10,000 (1978), SANKOFA (1993) and TEZA (2008). Above that, Gerima owned a video and book store as well as an own film distribution company: With Mypheduh Films he was able to market his own movies as well as those of other African-American artists, who were ignored by other US-American distributors. He also teaches at Howard University and gives workshops for screenwriters and directors.