Your reaction to The Black List will depend largely on your expectations for documentary filmmaking, though it’s difficult to imagine anyone not being at least intrigued and entertained by it. Its premise is simple yet groundbreaking—point the camera at 22 influential African-Americans and let them talk about their experiences. Topics include not just race and culture, but also gender, sex, religion and an endless array of other issues that any living, breathing human being should find fascinating.
- The Black List: Volume One
- Directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
The direction, by erstwhile photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, achieves both immaculate compositions and an immediate, personal feel with the subjects despite the camera never moving. Meanwhile, former New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell (whose voice and presence is intentionally left out of the film) asks the questions and creates a relaxed and spontaneous atmosphere that elicits surprisingly personal responses from the interviewees.
Depending on your areas of interest, you will likely recognize several of the people profiled (who include famous artists, athletes and politicians, among others) and be introduced to new ones. Undoubtedly, you will be introduced to new ideas about life, no matter what your ethnic background is.