Kathleen Collins

The Black Essai Film

Geetha Ramanathan

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Ebook (ePub) i
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Ebook (PDF) i
Open Access
Explores the New York Black Independent Film movement in the context of Kathleen Collins’s work as a philosopher filmmaker
  • Analyses Collins's films as the site of a convergence of ideas on philosophy, otherness, art, aesthetics and the craft of filmmaking
  • Provides contexts for Collins's use of African American folklore and oral culture in her films
  • Examines Collins's influence on African American woman filmmakers

A philosopher-filmmaker, Kathleen Collins decisively redefined the parameters of African American film with The Cruz Brothers and Miss Malloy (1980) and Losing Ground (1982). This book uses detailed analyses of Collins’s films to contextualise her work in the African American, feminist and world film traditions, and it highlights her contribution to each of these canons.

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List of Illustrations



1.The New York Black Independents

2.The Black Essai Film

3.Ambiguities of Auteurship

4.The Magical Marvellous Modern

5.Sacred Doubles

6.Film Across Drama and Art

7.Black Feminist Culture and Black Masculinity


List of Films


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In her fascinating and important book, Geetha Ramanathan gives the films of Kathleen Collins the astute and attentive analysis they deserve, usefully placing them in the context of Collins’ wide aesthetic and philosophical interests as well as her plays and stories. This welcome study makes a crucial contribution to Collins’ recent return to both film history and African American culture.

Professor Laura Mulvey, Birkbeck University of London
Geetha Ramanathan is Professor of Comparative Literature at West Chester University where she teaches Comparative Literature, film and Women’s Studies (including Feminist Film and African American Film). Her interests include modernist, feminist and third world literature.

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