The undeniable legacy of Black cinema is celebrated and explored in Netflix's Is That Black Enough For You?!?, the directorial debut of acclaimed film critic Elvis Mitchell.
The documentary centers on the vast contributions of Black films and filmmakers during the landmark era of the 1970s.
According to the synopsis, the film “examines the craft and power of cinema from a perspective often overlooked: the African American contribution to films released from the landmark era of the 70s. It is a deep dive into the impact that point of view had on movies, as well as popular culture, and serves as a love letter to film, posing questions that have never been asked, let alone answered. Crucial artistic voices, including director Charles Burnett, Samuel L. Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Laurence Fishburne, Zendaya, and others, offer their distinctive prism on the creators and films that dazzled and inspired. The film provides insight into the history of Black representation going back to the earliest days of cinema, and the cultural impact of witnessing unapologetic Blackness.”
“They were proof that we were here, that we create culture, that we have voices, and that we will be heard,” Fishburne says in the trailer describing the enormous influence of Black filmmakers.
A labor of love, it took Mitchell 23 years to complete the film.
“When Black films from the late ’60s and the ’70s come up, they’re dismissed with the term ‘Blaxploitation,'” Mitchell told Variety. “I have nothing against that word, but any era that includes ‘Killer of Sheep,’ ‘Lady Sings the Blues,’ ‘Blazing Saddles’, and ‘Symbiopsychotaxiplasm’ can’t be disregarded with that phrase.”
“As a Black viewer, I found myself confronted with what wasn’t being voiced about my people, and wondered why the movies were so slow to respond to Black audiences — who were paying good money to see movies — and even social shifts brought about by the civil rights movement,” he continued.
In addition to Mitchell as director, the doc is produced by Steven Soderbergh, David Fincher, Angus Wall, and Ciara Lacy.
Is That Black Enough For You ?!? premieres in the Spotlight section of the 2022 New York Film Festival, debuts in select theaters on October 28, and will be available for streaming on Netflix on November 11.