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Black History Month

Consider these films as milestones on a long and winding road. 

See how it was and where it led, as shown in stories of pain and joy, rage and resistance. Drawn from five continents and eight decades, take a first step inside…

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MLK/FBIMLK/FBI

Documentary2020106 minsDirector: Sam Pollard

Sam Pollard's resonant exploration of the US government's surveillance and harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Daughters of the DustDaughters of the Dust

Drama1991112 minsDirector: Julie Dash

Julie Dash’s groundbreaking Daughters of the Dust remains urgent and poetic and continues to resonate, most recently inspiring Beyoncé’s Lemonade.

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White Colour BlackWhite Colour Black

Drama201683 minsDirector: Joseph A. Adesunloye

A young mixed heritage man confronts the psychological complexities of his identity in this essential, truly cinematic discovery for anyone interested in Black British cinema.

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Malcolm XMalcolm X

Biopic1992202 minsDirector: Spike Lee

Denzel Washington takes the lead in one of the great screen biopics, directed by Spike Lee.

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Dreams of a LifeDreams of a Life

Documentary201191 minsDirector: Carol Morley

The power of kinship is explored in Carol Morley’s drama-documentary, drawn from real life and resonant with the way we live now.

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Kansas CityKansas City

Crime1995115 minsDirector: Robert Altman

Robert Altman revisits the 1930s city of his childhood, vividly recreating its jazz clubs, speakeasies, political corruption and lively crime scene.

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The Watermelon WomanThe Watermelon Woman

Comedy199785 minsDirector: Cheryl Dunye

Cheryl Dunye's smart and funny romance - thought to be the first feature directed by a black lesbian - remains a breath of fresh air decades on.

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Recorder: The Marion Stokes ProjectRecorder: The Marion Stokes Project

Documentary201888 minsDirector: Matt Wolf

The taped crusader: VHS nerds, media scholars and archive enthusiasts will appreciate this documentary about the African-American activist who recorded 30 years of TV news.

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Black OrpheusBlack Orpheus

Romance1959107 minsDirector: Marcel Camus

Thrilling re-working of the Orpheus myth, incorporating the music, costume and dance of Brazil’s Rio Festival.

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Young Soul RebelsYoung Soul Rebels

Drama1991105 minsDirector: Isaac Julien

The Queen's Silver Jubilee beats to the sounds of Funkadelic, Sylvester and the O'Jays in Isaac Julien’s feature debut.

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PressurePressure

Drama1975121 minsDirector: Horace Ové

Hailed as Britain's first black feature film, Pressure is a hard-hitting, honest document of the plight of disenchanted black youths in 1970s London.

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Burning an IllusionBurning an Illusion

Legal and Courtroom drama1981102 minsDirector: Menelik Shabazz

Menelik Shabazz’s pioneering first feature traces the emotional and political growth of a young black couple in Thatcher’s London.

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TimbuktuTimbuktu

Drama201496 minsDirector: Abderrahmane Sissako

Living in the sand dunes just outside the city of Timbuktu, a cattle herder and his wife find their peaceful existence disturbed by forces attempting to dictate their lifestyle.

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Gone Too Far!Gone Too Far!

Comedy201388 minsDirector: Destiny Ekaragha

Riotous urban comedy adapted from the hit Royal Court play, about a Peckham teen affronted by the arrival of his long-lost Nigerian sibling.

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The WoundThe Wound

Drama201788 minsDirector: John Trengove

A traditional rite of passage ritual forms the backdrop for this tough and complex tale of closeted sexuality in South Africa.

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GirlhoodGirlhood

Drama2014113 minsDirector: Céline Sciamma

In the tough suburbs of Paris, sixteen-year-old Marieme decides to reinvent herself when she joins a girl gang.

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La HaineLa Haine

Drama199598 minsDirector: Mathieu Kassovitz

Mathieu Kassovitz’s landmark mid-90s drama throws a cinematic Molotov cocktail at structural racism, police brutality and media manipulation.

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HoneytrapHoneytrap

Drama201497 minsDirector: Rebecca Johnson

While attempting to settle into her new London neighbourhood, Layla finds herself thrown into the city's gang culture.

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Stud LifeStud Life

Drama201287 minsDirector: Campbell X

Campbell X's debut feature is a sexy, young and cool gay romance taking a unique look at a slice of British urban life.

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Second ComingSecond Coming

Drama2014105 minsDirector: debbie tucker green

What if an immaculate conception took place in a South London household? Idris Elba stars in a subtle, thought-provoking and original family drama.

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BabylonBabylon

Drama198095 minsDirector: Franco Rosso

A young Rastafarian toaster (rapper) with Reggae Sound System Ital Lion, hopes to rise above the trials of his daily life and succeed at a Sound System competition.

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Buena Vista Social ClubBuena Vista Social Club

Documentary1999101 minsDirector: Wim Wenders

Cuba’s rich and colourful past comes vividly to life in this legendary, Oscar-nominated documentary from director Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas, Wings of Desire).

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Mystery RoadMystery Road

Crime2013121 minsDirector: Ivan Sen

An Aboriginal cop returns to his hometown to solve the brutal murder teenage girl, uncovering a web of corruption and a growing body count, in Ivan Sen's acclaimed Australian riff on the Western genre.

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WalkaboutWalkabout

Drama1970101 minsDirector: Nicolas Roeg

Jenny Agutter plays the teenage girl reliant on a young Aboriginal (David Gulpilil) for her survival, in Nicolas Roeg's stunning Australian outback drama.

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The Harder They ComeThe Harder They Come

Drama1972103 minsDirector: Perry Henzell

The cult classic, acknowledged as the catalyst for the popularisation of reggae in the US, sees Jimmy Cliff traversing the underbelly of Jamaican shanty-town life.