This film is part of Free

The Late Show

The supreme intent and personal biography of a Black Panther contrasts with the alienating propaganda of late-night television.

Documentary 1969 12 mins


An incision into the complacent, mass media world, The Late Show is a potent, provocative short film made up of only one long, carefully composed shot. And it does a lot with a little. Tracing the room of an African American man - a member of the Black Panthers - it sets up his world and contrasts it with the lifestyles promoted by late-night television, highlighting the structural violence, division and alienation.

Michael Wakely was fresh from the London Film School when he made this pithy, shocking film, supported - perhaps surprisingly - by the BFI. It was a bold piece of work but it also revisited themes from his earlier work, notably alienation in the face of television and advertising. The star of The Late Show, Frank Okonta (Francis Chukwuma Okonta, 1939 – 2019), went on to become a high profile art and political figure in Nigeria, serving as organiser for the 2008 Art Expo in Lagos and as Secretary-General for the Nigeria Olympic Committee.