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One People

Distributed by Third World Newsreel, 545 Eighth Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018; 212-947-9277
Produced by Laura L. Fowler and Alfred J. Santana
Directed by Alfred J. Santana
DVD, color, 30 min.
College - Adult
African American Studies, Drama, Literature

Reviewed by Rebecca Adler Schiff, College of Staten Island, City University of New York

Recommended with reservations   
Date Entered: 7/15/2009

The short feature One People pits two artistic sisters against each other, one an apolitical poet, the other an activist filmmaker. The latter sister is in the process of making a documentary film, a film within the film, about the path breaking African American writer and playwright Lorraine Hansberry, author of Raisin in the Sun. On its way to a happy resolution whereby the apolitical sister comes to realize that all art is political with only the explicitness of the political content in question, the film features a number of well known persons who appear as themselves, among them actor Ruby Dee and controversial writer Amiri Baraka. The film is not particularly distinguished, the script is didactic, the acting somewhat stilted. Still, its overriding virtue is to refocus attention on Hansberry, whose life was tragically cut short at age 35. If the film serves the purpose of sending viewers to seek out more about Hansberry’s life and work, it will have been purpose enough.