One of the best documentaries to emerge from 2011 is the incredibly inspired, polished and dreamy The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975. A treasure trove of hundreds of hours of 16 and 35mm footage shot by Swedish journalists and filmmakers during that tumultuous and very eventful period in the US has been expertly pared down into a compelling 90 minute film that I for one wish was longer (sequel?). Superb editing and footage that makes you forget it was shot 40 years ago along with a killer soundtrack amount to one of the few docs from last year that hits all the pleasure spots.
Without going into it too much (you can read the earlier Art Threat review of the film), The Black Power Mixtape is a refreshing look at familiar territory – the rise and subsequent oppression of the Black Power movement in the US. The Swedish perspective shines through this assemblage of rare archival in striking distinction to other (more hostile and racist) American footage and historical docs, bringing with it a more compassionate, understanding and innocent curiosity to the subjects, the politics and the era. A pure delight to watch, and amazingly, a film that inspires the political fires despite the decades that have passed.