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Nicholas Brothers


“Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971” is on view at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. The exhibit explores the rich history of Black participation in US cinema from its beginnings to just beyond the civil rights movement.

Inspired by and named after an independent all-Black-cast movie from 1923, “Regeneration” seeks to revive lost or forgotten films, filmmakers, and performers for a contemporary audience.

The exhibit tells this story through seven galleries and themes:

  • Introduction considers the social and political situation of Black Americans at the dawn of cinema in the United States.
  • Early Film looks at the representation of Black people in cinema from 1897 to 1915.
  • Pioneering independent Black filmmakers and films made for Black audiences from the 1910s to the 1940s are examined in Race Films.
  • Music and Film takes stock of Black music in American film, from Black musicals to the lost art of the ‘soundie.’
  • Stars and Icons shines a light on Black stardom.
  • Freedom Movements documents a set of cinematic stories and careers born in changing times and politics.
  • Agency tracks Black directors’ daring and pioneering paths during the civil rights movement.

Among the over 225 original objects on view in Regeneration, visitors will encounter photographs, scripts, drawings, costumes, moviemaking equipment, posters, and original contemporary artworks.

“Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971” will be on view through Apr. 9, 2023.

On Fridays and Saturdays, the Academy Museum remains open until 8 p.m. We appreciate that.

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