Sunday, December 6, 2009


Award-winning British filmmaker Isaac Julien's film is both critically acclaimed and controversial. A lyrical and poetic consideration of the life of revered Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. Isaac Julien invokes Hughes as a black cultural icon, against an impressionistic, atmospheric setting that parallels a Harlem speakeasy of the 1920s with a 1980s London underground nightclub.

Julien explores the ambiguous sexual subtexts of the period of rich artistic expression, and the enduring cultural significance of the pioneers' work. Shot, in sumptuous monochrome, the film combines archival footage with the newly staged set pieces, fantasy sequences, and an imagined love story. The result is a beautiful and ultimately celebratory piece about artistic expression and the nature of desire.

Image: Still from Looking for Langston (1989, 60') by Isaac Julien.