As the British Film Institute unveils Black Star, the UK’s biggest ever season of film and television dedicated to celebrating the range, versatility, magnetism and power of black actors, we pick out a few highlights from the Bristol programme
Purple Rain 13 November, 6pm
Whether or not you spotted the Prince-themed artwork in the city in the run up to Colston Hall’s major Black Star announcement, we hope you’ve heard about the party of the month by now. If not, listen up. The venue will be hosting the programme’s headline event – a tribute to the pop icon – including performances from Alex Penfold and dance group Funk Supreme; as well as a screening of the rock-cinema masterpiece Purple Rain followed by a set by distinguished DJ Norman Jay MBE. Raspberry berets, lace gloves, extravagant ruffles and generally outrageous purple attire encouraged.
Jimi: All Is By My Side 25 November, 11pm
See John Ridley’s absorbing directorial debut and portrait of ultimate guitar hero Jimi Hendrix at the Watershed – with Outkast’s André Benjamin perfectly cast as the gifted young musician discovered by Linda Keith while playing backing guitar in a New York club. Drop into the bar before the film from 10pm for a specially curated Come The Revolution audio/visual treat – a journey from Hendrix to hip-hop – with a DJ Scott Xylo and visuals by Bristol’s Limbic Cinema.
To Sir, With Love: 13 November, 3pm
Sidney Poitier stars as a Mark Thackeray, a novice teacher at a tough school in London’s East End, who faces a a class of unruly white working class kids who test him to his limits. Thackeray meets the challenge by encouraging the students to rise above their ‘you’ll-never-do-anything’ mentality and treating them as young adults who will soon enter a work force where they must stand or fall on their own. Also at the Watershed.
What’s Love Got To Do With It 18 November, 11pm
Experience the highs and lows of Anna Mae Bullock – Tina Turner – in this unflinching biopic also showing at the Watershed. Follow her from a Tennessee church, through a meteoric rise to stardom and a turbulent marriage from which she eventually breaks free. Head to the café from 10pm to hear Bristol poets present a spoken-word homage to the star, and her stellar back catalogue.
Angela Basset as Tina Turner
Come The Revolution House Party 4 & 5 December, 5.30pm
At Trinity Centre, Bristol’s Come The Revolution invites you to experience some of the funniest films starring comic geniuses who happen to be black stars. Enjoy Eddie Murphy shine in Coming to America, and I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, directed by trailblazer Keenen Ivory Wayans, starring a young Chris Rock, followed by a ’90s-themed hip-hop night!
The Color Purple: 20 November, 12pm
Adapted from Alice Walker’s celebrated novel, Steven Spielberg’s impressive, dignified film was monumental for black stardom, launching the careers of Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey. The film spans 40 years in the life of Celie (Goldberg), a poor southern black woman whose friendship with two women helps her overcome the brutality she has experienced at the hands of her father and husband (Danny Glover). Although it controversially didn’t win any of the 11 Oscars it was nominated for, this film has stood the test of time – a powerful tale of friendship and love. See it at the Watershed.
Feature image © Park Circus Warner Brothers