Films by Title: "S"
Listed by title followed by year of release, annotation, genre, running time, format, and director
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Sabrina (n.d.) - Drama, 13 min., DVD, dir: Marc Dyson.
Saga des immigres, La - (2007)
Saj: Muslim in America (2005) - Sajda Abdul-Rahim, a college student living in New York City, talks about her religious upbringing as a Muslim and her quest for a less traditional and more personal spiritual connection with God. Part of the Call for Change Series. Documentary, 4 min., VHS, dir: Sam Pollard.
Sally Hemmings: An American Scandal (2000) - An account of the historical and controversial relationship between President Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings. Drama, 173 min., VHS, dir: Charles Haid.
Salome (1923) - Salome, the daughter of Herodias, seduces her step-father/uncle Herod, governor of Judea, with a salacious dance. In return, he promises her the head of the prophet John the Baptist. Drama, 30 min., 8mm.
Samba Traoré (1992) -Samba Traore returns to his village flush with funds. Soon enough he manages to charm the beautiful Saratou into marrying him and, along with another friend, builds the first bar their village has ever seen. But his conscience keeps nagging him and the police are on the lookout for the "gas station murderer." Drama, 85 min., DVD, dir: Idrissa Ouedraogo.
Salt of This Sea (Milh Hadha al-Bahr) (2008) - A Brooklyn-born woman of Palestinian descent discovers that her grandfather's savings were frozen in a bank account in Jaffa when he was exiled in 1948. She returns to Palestine, where she meets up with a young man whose ambition is to leave the country forever. Tired of the constraints that dictate their lives, they know in order to be free, they must take things into their own hands, even if it's illegal. Drama, 109 min., DVD, dir: Annemarie Jacir.
Salut cousin! (1997) - An Algerian man travels to Paris where he stays with his cousin who has lived in the city for years. He's unfamiliar with the ways of the city, but soon finds love with an African neighbor. Comedy, 98 min., DVD, dir: Merzak Allouache.
Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine (1976) - The story of a fisherman's daughter who learns to distinguish between her dream world and reality when her cat and a friend are threatened by danger is the subject of this dramatic short. Drama, 17 min., 16mm, dir: Bob Johnson.
Sanders of the River (1935) - The film was shot in Africa and England. Paul Robeson in lioncloth plays Bosambo, a self-appointed leader of the river people who respects "Sandi," the representative of the English crown in this part of West Africa. Complications arise when a bellicose tribal chief foments bloody rebellion by attacking Bosambo's people, and kidnapping Lilong (Nina Mae McKinney), Bosambo's beautiful wife. Sanders rescues Lilongo and re-establishes Bosambo as King. Drama, 98 min., DVD, dir: Zoltan Korda.
Sankofa (1993) - Mona (Oyafunmike Ogunlano), an African American model is on a shoot at the site of a dungeon where Africans were imprisoned until slave ships hauled them away. Sankofa (Kofi Ghanaba), guardian of the dungeon site, admonishes Mona to return to her past. Haunted by his command, she enters the dungeon and does not emerge until she experiences the pain and degradation of plantation slavery. Other slaves include Shango (Mutabaruka), Nunu (Alexandra Duah) and Joe (Nick Medley). Drama, 124 min., DVD, dir: Haile Gerima.
Santa Fe Trail (1940) - Raymond Massey as John Brown, and his abolitionist followers are depicted as wrong-headed zealots polarizing the country. Brown is violently and inhumanely fanatical while Stuart (Errol Flynn) and General Custer (Ronald Reagan) are characterized as gentleman-adversaries. Western, 110 min., VHS, dir: Michael Curtiz.
Sapphire (1959) - The so-called Notting Hill race riots in 1958 created a racial millieu in Britain from which a number of "immigrant problem" films like Sapphire were produced. The story is basically a mystery with the police searching for the murderer of a girl passing for white and the conflicts their search arouses. Drama, 92 min., 16mm, dir: Basil Dearden.
Sapphire and the Slave Girl (1995) - Based on the 1950s British detective film Sapphire, the film satirizes the notion of identity and passing. Drama, 17 min., VHS, dir: Leah Gilliam.
Sarafina! (1992) - Sarafina (Leleti Khumalo) is a student in 1970s apartheid South Africa. One of her teachers, Mary Masembuko (Whoopi Goldberg) attempts to teach the students about their own culture. She is arrested and Sarafina and the other students rebel, sparking an uprising which engulfs the entire township. Drama, 98 min., DVD, dir: Darrell James Roodt.
Sara Gomez: An Afro-Cuban Filmmaker (2005) -After studying literature, piano and Afro-Cuban ethnography, Sara Gomez turned her attention to film, emerging as a thoughtful chronicler of Afro-Cuban cultural and gender issues, particularly in her best-known work, De Cierta Manera. Swiss documentarian Alessandra Muller combines vintage archival footage of interviews with Gomez's husband, children and friends to create a vivid portrait of Cuba's first female director. Documentary, 76 min., DVD, dir: Alessandra Muller.
Sarang Song (2006) -Sarang Song is a love story of two women set amidst the politically and socially turbulent times of the early 1970s. Their love is tested when one is thrust into the student protest movement and is forced to make a choice - will she choose her love, or will she choose the movement? Drama, 24 min., DVD, dir: Tamika Miller.
Saturday Night at the Movies: Black and White (2002) - This episode of TVOntario's "Saturday Night at the Movies" explores how African Americans are represented in Hollywood. Documentary, 17 min., VHS, dir: n/a.
Saturday Night, Sunday Morning: The Travels of Gatemouth Moore (1992) - Louis Guida documents, through interviews and early photos, the life of Arnold Dwight "Gatemouth" Moore, a prominent blues singer who left the stage at the height of his career to preach and sing gospel. Documentary, 70 min., VHS, dir: Louis Guida.
Save the Children [aka Brothers and Sisters in Concert] (1973) - Made originally as a documentary film based on the 1972 PUSH Expo theme. The 123-minute version goes into depth on the theme of black self-determination; contains footage of Reverend Jesse Jackson and Black Expo; shorter version places emphasis on the various artists' performances. Documentary, 123 min., VHS, dir: Stan Lathan.
Say Amen, Somebody (1982) - The film is an exploration of gospel music with performances by and interviews with gospel greats. It focuses on Thomas Dorsey, the "father of gospel," Willie Mae Ford Smith, the O'Neal twins, and the Barrett Sisters. Documentary, 100 min., 16mm, dir: George T. Nierenberg.
Scar of Shame, The (1927) - A story about an ill-matched marriage between a black concert pianist and a poor, lower class young black woman. The color caste system and the divisions that exist among Afro-Americans are explored, as well as class and its relationship to ambition in the black community. Drama, 70 min., 16mm, VHS, dir: Frank Peregini.
School Daze (1988) - Dap Dunlap (Laurence Fishburne) tries to rally students of Mission College to protest the college's investments in South Africa. He is challenged by Julian (Giancarlo Esposito), "Big Brother Almighty" of the Gamma Fraternity, who disagrees with Dap's ideas. Half-pint (Spike Lee) is a new recruit to the Gamma Fraternity. Jane Toussaint (Tisha Campbell) is the leader of the Gamma Rays and Julian's girlfriend. Comedy, 121 min., VHS, dir: Spike Lee.
School Daze (1993) - Drama, 5 min., DVD, dir: Ted Roberts.
School Daze (1988) -A not so popular young man wants to pledge to a popular fraternity at his historically black college. Comedy, 121 min., VHS, DVD, dir: Spike Lee.
Scott Joplin (1977) - Billy Dee Williams plays Scott Joplin, the great composer of ragtime and of the opera Treemonisha in this fictional biography of the tragic struggle of a black musician for success against insurmountable odds. Drama, 96 min., VHS, dir: Jeremy Paul Kagan.
Scottsboro: An American Tragedy (2000) - A chilling look at the infamous rape trial of the nine young Black men (ages 13 to 19) unjustly accused of raping two white women in a railroad box car just outside the town of Scottsboro, Alabama in 1931. Documentary, 84 min., VHS, dir: Barak Goodman.
Scream, Blacula, Scream (1973) - After a dying Voodoo queen chooses an adopted apprentice as her successor, her true heir is outraged. Seeking revenge, he buys the bones of Blacula the vampire off of a dealer, and uses voodoo to bring the vampire back to do his bidding. In turn, Blacula turns him into a vampire and makes him his slave. Meanwhile, a police officer with a large collection of African antiques and an interest in the occult investigates the murders caused by Blacula and his vampire horde. Horror, 96 min., DVD, dir: Bob Kelljan.
Screaming Man, A (2010) - Adam, a former swimming champion now in his sixties, is a pool attendant at a hotel in Chad. When the hotel gets taken over by new Chinese owners, he is forced to give up his job to his son, Abdel, leaving Adam humiliated and resentful. Meanwhile rebel forces attack the government while the authorities demand the people contribute to the "war effort" with money or volunteers old enough to fight. But Adam is penniless; he only has his son. In a moment of weakness, Adam makes a decision that he will forever regret. Winner of the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize. Drama, 91 min. DVD, dir: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun.
Scrub Me Mama With A Boogie Beat (1941) - Animated stereotypes of Blacks singing and dancing, eating watermelon and looking sexy. Children, 7 min., VHS, dir: Walter Lantz.
Searching for Sugar Man (2012) -Two South Africans set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero, the mysterious 1970s rock 'n' roller, Rodriguez. Documentary, 86 min., DVD, dir: Malik Bendjelloul.
Seas of Grass (1974) - This nature documentary explores grass and its entire ecosystem. Grass is a plant that survives the abuse of animals, insects, heat, cold, wind, and water. Drama, 57 min., 16mm, dir: Richard Matthews.
Secret of the Grain, The (graine et le mulet, La) (2007) - A sixty year old man, Mr. Slimani, who works at a ship yard, has a dream to open his own restaurant. He is a divorced father, who forces himself to stay close to his family despite the tensions and the financial difficulties. He cannot realize his dream of the restaurant because of his income, but he still talks about it with his family, and they rally around his project and make it into a reality. Drama, 154 min., DVD, dir: Abdel Kechiche.
Secret Sounds Screaming: The Sexual Abuse of Children (1986) - Ayoka Chenzira's film about the sexual abuse of children comes out of her experiences working in a hospital and meeting a child with gonorrhea of the throat and mouth. Documentary, 30 min., VHS, dir: Ayoka Chenzira.
Secrets & Lies (1996) - Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), a young black optometrist living in London, contacts her birth mother Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn), who is white, after her adoptive mother dies. Both Jean-Baptiste and Blethyn were 1997 Oscar nominees. Drama, 142 min., VHS, dir: Mike Leigh.
Secrets of a High School Girl (1934) - Drama about a girl who gets pregnant because her parents failed to provide her with proper sex education. Screenplay by Harlem Renaissance writer Wallace Thurman. Drama, 55 min., DVD, dir: Crane Wilbur.
See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) - Wally (Richard Pryor) is blind, Dave (Gene Wilder) is deaf. Their comic adventures begin when Wally, pretending to see, applies for a job at Dave's store. When the two "witness" the murder of a racketeer, they end up being the prime suspects and eventually wanted fugitives. Leslie (Tonya Pinkins) is Wally's sister who helps them out along the way. Comedy, 103 min., VHS, dir: Arthur Hiller.
Selbe: One Among Many (1982) - The film documents the daily life for women in Senegal. Documentary, 30 min., VHS, dir: Safi Faye.
Selma Voting Rights March Anniversary (2000) - This C-SPAN production documents the 35th anniversary celebrations for the Selma voting rights march at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 5, 2000. Speakers include Julian Bond, President Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Coretta Scott King, and Andrew Young. Television, 145 min., DVD, dir: n/a.
Selma, Lord, Selma (1999) - This made-for-television movie is based on the memories of two little girls who experienced the infamous Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama, during the tumultuous American civil rights movement of the 1960s. Drama, 88 min., DVD, dir: Charles Burnett.
Sense of Pride, A: Hamilton Heights (1977) - A Sense of Pride: Hamilton Heights is the story of Alston Harris' efforts to help make his neighborhood, Hamilton Heights, the beautiful and well-kept place it was in 1977, at the time of the filming. Documentary, 14 min., 16mm, dir: Monica J. Freeman.
Senza Pieta [aka Without Pity] (1948) - Jerry, an American G.I. in Italy, is played by Katzmiller. He gets involved in black marketeering, falls in love with an Italian girl, but is killed before the romance develops. Drama, 95 min., VHS, dir: Alberto Lattuada.
Separate But Equal (1991) - The film dramatizes events which led from a small rural classroom to a Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregation. Sidney Poitier portrays Thurgood Marshall, then NAACP lawyer who took the struggle for equal rights to the highest court in the nation. Burt Lancaster plays opposing cousel John W. Davis and Richard Kiley co-stars as Chief Justice Earl Warren. Drama, 193 min., DVD, dir: George Stevens, Jr..
Sepia Cinderella (1947) - A musical romance of a songwriter (Billy Daniels) and a singer (Sheila Guyse) who, after trials and tribulations, get back together to the tune of his "Cinderella Song." Freddie Bartholomew makes a cameo appearance. Musical, 68 min., VHS, dir: Arthur H. Leonard.
Sepian Stars on Parade: A Musical Revue (1944) - Includes Let's Scuffle (1942); She's Too Hot to Handle (1944); You and Always Hurt the One You Love (1944). Music Performance, 3 min., 16mm, dir: n/a.
Sergeant Rutledge (1960) - Woody Strode stars as a cavalry man accused of double murder and rape. In the face of a biased tribunal he and his friends try to prove his innocence. Western, 112 min., VHS, dir: John Ford
Set it Off (1997) - Jada Pinkett-Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox and Kimberly Elise star as four young Black women who take to robbing banks in order to escape the inner-city problems of Los Angeles. Action, 123 min., VHS, dir: F. Gary Gray.
Seven [aka Se7en] (1995) - Morgan Freeman stars as one of two detectives on the trail of a serial killer who chooses his victims in accordance with the seven deadly sins: gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, wrath, pride and lust. Drama, 127 min., DVD, dir: David Fincher.
7 Seconds (2005) -When an experienced thief accidentally makes off with a Van Gogh, his partner is kidnapped by gangsters in pursuit of the painting, forcing the criminal to hatch a rescue plan. Action, 101 min., DVD, dir: Simon Fellows.
Selma (2014) -Ava DuVernay’s compelling Academy Award nominated film recounts the debates and strategies that led to the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, and provides a humanizing portrait of its leaders, with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (played by David Oyelowo) at the forefront. Also starring Tom Wilkinson, Lorraine Toussaint, Oprah Winfrey, and Carmen Ejogo. Blu-ray disk includes a documentary on the making of the film and the music video for the Oscar winning song “Glory.” Drama, 128 min., Blu-ray, dir: Ava DuVernay
Seven Songs for Malcolm X (1993) -A British documentary film about the life of Malcolm X, the influential civil rights activist who was assassinated in 1965. Documentary, 53 min., DVD, dir: Akomfrah, John.
Seven Wishes of Joanna Peabody (1978) - This contemporary fantasy, based on the book by Genevieve Gray, tells the story of a young girl living in poverty who is granted wishes by a fairy godmother who appears on hertelevision. This experience teaches her that it is better to think of others rather than only herself. Drama, 32 min., 16mm, dir: Stephen H. Foreman.
Several Friends (1969) -An improvised late '60's short-subject student film, and debut movie of Director, Charles Burnett; done in the neo-realist, documentary film style. A day-in-the-life South Central L.A. tale about a rag-tag group of unemployed black male pals. Drama, 45 min., DVD, dir: Charles Burnett.
Shades of Love: Black Homosexuality vol. 1-3 (2007) - Documentary, DVD, dir: Tressa Sanders.
Shadow Boxer (2005) - Trained assassins Mikey (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and Rose (Helen Mirren) are hired by a brutal crime boss to murder his wife. However, Rose has a change of heart after discovering their target is pregnant, and the three begin a life on the run. Driven by fierce love, Rose and Mikey protect their adopted family from present danger—looking to redeem their tragic past. Also featuring Vanessa Ferlito, Macy Gray, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mo’Nique and Stephen Dorff. DVD extras include commentary from Lee Daniels and Cuba Gooding, Jr. and a “Making of” documentary. Drama, 93 min., DVD, dir: Lee Daniels.
Shadow of Hate, The (1995) - Produced by three-time Academy Award winner Charles Guggenheim, The Shadow of Hate spans three centuries to examine this country's ongoing struggle to live up to its idelas of libery, equality and justice for all. Documentary, 40 min., VHS, dir: Charles E. Guggenheim.
Shadows (1959) - Shadows grew out of a series of improvisations at the Variety Arts Studio in New York. The story concerns a young would-be writer who falls in love with a girl (Lelia Goldoni) he thinks is white. Her experiences and those of her two darker brothers (Ben Carruthers and Hugh Hurd) are the basis of the film. Director John Cassavetes took his actors to various New York City locations and allowed them to improvise their basic characterizations. Music by Charles Mingus. Drama, 81 min., DVD, dir: John Cassavetes.
Shadow's Song (1990) - A black man and a white woman, both terminally ill, discuss their feelings about death. Suffering from a brain tumor, Henry encourages those who suffer and fear death. Knowing the time of his death, he celebrates it with friends, singing his last song about crossing over to the other side. Documentary, 33 min, VHS, dir: Lynn Hershman.
Shaft (1971) - Black private eye John Shaft (Richard Roundtree) is hired to find the daughter of a black underworld leader (Moses Gunn) kidnapped in a power struggle to control the drug, prostitution and numbers racket in Harlem. Shaft locates the girl and effects her release with the aid of a black revolutionary and his buddies. Oscar winning music by Isaac Hayes; orchestration by J.J. Johnson. Action, 100 min., 16mm, 35mm, VHS, dir: Gordon Parks.
Shaft In Africa (1973) - Shaft (Richard Roundtree) goes to Africa in this action filled 1970s thriller. Naturally, this lawman brings style and justice to the struggle of black people wherever he goes. In this film Shaft must infiltrate and break up a ring smuggling cheap labor (slavery) into Europe. Action, 112 min., DVD, dir: John Guillermin.
Shaft's Big Score! (1972) - In this sequel to Shaft (1971), John Shaft (Richard Roundtree) finds himself in the middle of a black/white gangland feud over control of the numbers racket in Queens. Action, 104 min., DVD, dir: Gordon Parks.
Shaka Zulu (1983) - This miniseries follows the rise of Shaka (Henry Cele), King of the Zulus in the early 19th century, who revolutionized warfare and political organization in Southern Africa by introducing the stabbing spear which led to drastically increased battle casualties and enforcing a strict Spartan style of military discipline and authoritarian rule. Drama, 300 min., VHS, dir: William C. Faure.
Shake (1986) - Music Performance, 19 min., VHS, dir: David Dawkins, Chris Hegedus, and D.A. Pennebaker.
Shakespeare in Sable: History of the Black Shakespearean Actor (1996) - Documentary, 50 min., DVD, dir: N/A.
Shawshank Redemption, The (1994) - Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is convicted of his wife's murder and sent to Shawshank Prison for life. The seasoned convicts, headed by Red (Morgan Freeman), make bets he won't last, but Andy does well. Forming an unlikely friendship with Red, Andy proves his resourcefulness, winning favors from the warden. As the years go by, Andy and Red never give up the dream of freedom. Drama, 142 min., VHS, dir: Frank Darabont.
She Don't Fade (1991) - Short Film, 23 min., DVD, dir: Cheryl Dunye.
She Hate Me (2004) - Branded as a whistle-blower, Jack Armstrong (Anthony Mackie) is fired from his biotech executive job. His assets are frozen due to an impending insider trading investigation, making Jack financially desperate. His ex-girlfriend who is now a lesbian, asks him to be the father of her baby, which opening the door to a lucrative business. Comedy, 138 min., DVD, dir: Spike Lee.
She Likes Girls (2007) - This collection contains six lesbian-themed short films, including genre- and style-spanning stories of tomboys and tough girls, hilarious scenarios, intimate observations, and heartbreaking moments of truth. Drama, dir: Fiona Mackenzie.
She's Gotta Have It (1986) - Spike Lee's first crossover film is the story of Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns), a young African American professional woman with her entourage of three men: Mars (Lee), Greer (John Canada Terrell), and Jamie (Tommy Hicks). She's willing to share her time with all three but they object. The film is the story of a "sexually liberated" woman from a man's perspective. Ernest Dickerson is the cinematographer. Comedy, 84 min., VHS, dir: Spike Lee.
She's Too Hot to Handle (1944) - Music Performance, 3 min., 16mm, dir: n/a.
Sheba, Baby (1975) - Sheba Shayne (Pam Grier) is a liberated Chicago private eye. She returns home to Louisville, Kentucky, to protect her father's loan company from racketeers. Austin Stoker is Brick, her father's business partner; D'UrvilleMartin is Pilot. Barbara Mason performs the title song. Action, 90 min., 16mm, DVD, dir: William Girdler.
Shirley Chisolm: The Leader (1997) - Several cultureal figures speak about Chisholm; such as John Lewis, congressman; and Jim Maddox, Atlanta Councilmember. It covers life and career of former Congresswoman Chisholm, the first black woman elected to congressin 1969. Documentary, 30 min., VHS, dir: Rex Barnett.
Shivering Shakespeare (1930) - A "cultured" dramatic evening with child actors is interrupted by egg throwing kids who were kept out of the show. The whole theatre eventually erupts in a pie throwing melee. Allen Hoskins stars as Farina. Children, 20 min., VHS, DVD, dir: Anthony Mack (aka Robert F. McGowan).
Shivering Spooks (1926) - When Professor Fleece, a fake spiritualist, disrupts the gang's baseball game, the gang tunnels under his house and discovers the professor's con. Now it's their turn to do the disrupting. Allen Hoskins stars as Farina. Comedy, 12 min., 8mm, dir: Robert F. McGowen.
Short Term Contract (2004) - Drama, 21 min., DVD, dir: John Sealey.
Show Boat (1936) - Life and love on a Mississippi riverboat are the themes in this 1936 remake of Edna Ferber's novel, featuring Paul Robeson as Joe; Hattie McDaniel as Queenie. The miscegenation theme reappears with Helen Morgan as the mulatto Julie. Irene Dunne as Magnolia does a blackface routine; Clarence Muse is Sam the Doorman at the Trocadero; George Reed and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson are cast listed as "Old Negro" and "Young Negro." Musical, 114 min., 16mm, VHS, dir: James Whale.
Si le vent souleve les sables (2006) -The desert eats away at the land. The endless dry season has caused the village well to run dry. The livestock is dying. Trusting their instinct, most of the villagers leave and head south. Despite the threat of war, Rahne, the only literate one, decides to head east with his three children and his wife Mouna. A few sheep, some goats and Chamelle, a dromedary, are their only riches. Rahne and his family travel across hostile lands under a lethal sun, walking endlessly onwards. Drama, 92 min., DVD, dir: Marion Hänsel.
Sia, The Dream of the Python (2001) -Kaya Maghan, the despotic king of Wagadou, follows the instructions of his priest by ordering the religious sacrifice to the Python God of Sia Yatabene, the virgin daughter of a notable family. A gift of gold equivalent to Sia’s weight is given to her family as compensation for surrendering their daughter for the sacrifice. However, Sia runs away and finds shelter in the home of a mad prophet who has railed against the king. The king orders his top general to locate Sia, but the general is conflicted since Sia was engaged to marry his nephew, Mamadi, who is in battle on behalf of the kingdom. Mamadi returns and joins his uncle to do battle against the Python God. Drama, 87 min., DVD, dir: Dani Kouyate.
Siberian mammoth, The (2005) -This film examines the creation and exhibition of the propaganda film I Am Cuba, a Soviet/Cuban collaboration unknown in the West until the 1990s. Documentary, 91 min., DVD, dir: Vicente Ferraz.
Sibling Rivalry (1998) Drama, 8 min., DVD, dir: Carline, Verirre.
Sidet: Forced Exile (1991) - Expatriot Ethiopian filmmaker Salem Mekuria returns to her native land to examine the famine, poverty, and political upheaval that have resulted from Ethiopia's annexation of Eritrea through the experiences of three women living as refugees in Sudan. Documentary, 60 min., VHS, dir: Salem Mekuria.
Sidewalk Stories (1989) - Twenty years before The Artist, Charles Lane’s black and white comedy paid tribute to the silent film era. In this moving and funny homage to Chaplin’s The Kid, Sidewalk Stories tells the story of a modern day “tramp” and his unlikely friendship with a lost child. Lane pairs the comedic charm of Chaplin with the harrowing social realism of Lionel Rogosin to explore class relations and homelessness in 1980s New York. The DVD also includes Lane’s short film A Place in Time (1977). Drama, DVD, 101 min., dir: Charles Lane.
Sidney Poitier: One Bright Light (2000) - The life of Sidney Poitier is chronicled in the PBS documentary, from his upbringing in the Caribbean to his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and acting career. Documentary, 55 min., DVD, dir: Lee Grant.
Siege, The Part 1 & 2 (2009) - Drama, 126 min., DVD, dir: Ugezu Ugezu.
Silent Scandals Part 1 & 2 (2009) -Jessy, a pretty, young and very successful but uptight lady struggles with life as a career woman and single mother to a wild and free-spirited teenage daughter. Just as she learns to enjoy the new but fragile peace with her daughter who finally sobers up, a dark shadow rears its ugly head, threatening to destroy everything in its path.
Jessy suddenly finds herself locked in the battle of her life. Drama, 163 min., DVD, dir: N/A.
Siliva the Zulu (1927) -In 1927, Italian explorer and filmmaker Attilio Gatti, inspired by Robert Flaherty's groundbreaking documentary Nanook of the North, traveled to Africa with anthropologist Lidio Cipriani to make a movie that would depict the realities of life among the Zulu natives and blend them with a scripted story. The result was Siliva the Zulu, a story of a romantic rivalry in a primitive African village. Along with the love story wedged into Gatti's footage, Siliva the Zulu also includes historically invaluable scenes of daily life among the Zulu people, including healing rituals, dancing, and magical ceremonies. Documentary, 61 min., VHS, dir: Attilio Gatti.
Silver Streak (1976) - George Caldwell (Gene Wilder) a young editor takes the Silver Streak, a cross country passenger train, from Los Angeles to Chicago "just to be bored." George's troubles begin after he witnesses the body of a man being thrown off the train. His attempts to investigate the matter include encounters with Grover Muldoon (Richard Pryor) who helps him in one sequence disguise himself as a "brother." Comedy, 113 min., VHS, dir: Arthur Hiller.
Simonal : ninguém sabe o duro que dei (2009) - Documentary, 100 min., DVD, dir: Micael Langer, Calvito Leal, Cláudio Manoel.
Simple Justice Re-Edit (2003) - Based on the novel Simple Justice by Richard Kluger, the film recounts the remarkable legal strategy and social struggle that resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Re-edit of original 1992 film. Drama, 106 min., VHS, dir: Helaine Head.
Sin of the Soul Part 1 & 2 (2009) -At a time of revolutionary and eternal talents, Wilson Simonal shone like no other, and brought on innovation like few ever did. A singer with quality, charisma, charm, swing, sensuality, and a lot of talent, he became Brazil's star and also won international hearts. Suddenly, everything ended. Rumors, accU.S.A.tions, and persecution: what happened to Wilson Simonal? This film tells the amazing story of the former army corporal who became a king and ended up condemned to isolation for a crime he swore he didn't commit. Was Simonal an informant for Brazil's dictatorship? Was he for the military rulers? Or was his biggest crime to be an African-descendant man, a millionaire, and a sex symbol in a very racist time in his country? Drama, 135 min., DVD, dir: Frank Rajah.
Singing Stream, A: A Black Family Chronicle (1986) - The remarkable story of an African American family in the rural South, with interviews and stories. Captures scenes from daily life, reunions, gospel concerts and church services, and traces the history of the Landis family of Granville County, North Carolina. Documentary, 57 min., VHS, dir: Tom Davenport.
Siren of the Tropics (1927) - Josephine Baker is Papitou, the beautiful West Indian mulatto daughter of a white man and a black woman, who falls in love with Berval, a visiting Frenchman. A number of complicated circumstances bring her to Paris where she performs in a music hall, shoots a villainous marquis (for the sake of her lover) and manages to survive a disappointing denouement to her love affair. Drama, 86 min., DVD, dir: Mario Nalpas & Henri Étiévant.
Sister Act (1992) - A Las Vegas lounge singer (Whoopi Goldberg) is forced to hide out in a convent after witnessing a murder. She becomes the choir director and leads them to rave reviews. Bill Nunn plays the police officer who puts her in protective custody in the convent. Comedy, 100 min., VHS, dir: Emile Ardolino.
Sisterhood Alive and Well: The Million Woman March (1997) - On October 25, 1997, a million women marched in Philadelphia to express unity within the Black American community. This documentary highlights the role of Black women in the struggle for equality. Documentary, 24 min., VHS, dir: Andre Walker.
Sister Mary & Ossy (2009) - Drama, 128 min., DVD, dir: Ikechukwu Onyeka.
Sisters in Cinema (2003) - This chronicle depicts the careers of African-American women filmmakers from the beginning of the twentieth century up to the present. Filmmakers highlighted, such as Euzhan Palcy, Julie Dash, Darnell Martin, Dianne Houston, Neema Barnette, Cheryl Dunye, Kasi Lemmons, and Maya Angelou, form a common project together with a website and book based on the director's doctoral dissertation. Documentary, 62 min., VHS, dir: Yvonne Welbon.
Sisters in Law (2005) - A pair of black women -- one a judge, the other a prosecutor -- take up the battle against sexism and injustice in this story of human rights in Cameroon. Authentic, documentary-style footage of cases involving the abuse of women and children is featured, as well as some follow-ups and resolutions. Documentary, 102 min., DVD, dir: Kim Longinotto.
Sisters in the Struggle (1991) - This documentary, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, examines the struggles of black Canadian women through those who are active in the community, politics, and labor and feminist movements. Documentary, 50 min., VHS, dir: Dionne Brand & Ginny Stikeman.
Sisters of Selma (2006) -In 1965, Catholic nuns spearhead Dr. Martin Luther King's campaign in Selma for African American voting rights. Documentary, 60 min., DVD, dir: Jayasri Hart.
Sisters of the Good Death (2008) -Sisters of the Good Death follows the filmmaker's journey to the town of Cachoeira in northeastern Brazil to uncover the origins of a three-day Catholic festival that has taken place for more than 200 years. She discovers that the festival actually is the longest running celebration of emancipation from slavery in the Americas, which mixes Catholicism with the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé. The result is a celebration of freedom, women's resistance and Afro-Brazilian culture. Documentary, 22 min., DVD, dir: Yoruba Richen.
Sisters of the Screen: African Women in the Cinema (2002) -Exploring the extraordinary contributions of women filmmakers from Africa and the diaspora, Beti Ellerson's engaging debut intersperses interviews with such acclaimed women directors as Safi Faye, Sarah Maldoror, Anne Mungai, Fanta Régina Nacro and Ngozi Onwurah with footage from their seminal work.. Documentary, 61 min., VHS, dir: Beti Ellerson.
Sitting in Limbo (1986) - A black teenager in Montreal must leave high school after his girlfriend becomes pregnant. Although he takes care of his family, his relationship with his girlfriend becomes strained under the pressures of being a father. This drama touches on many issues, including racism, poverty, and community. Drama, 95 min., VHS, dir: John N. Smith.
16 Days of Glory (1985) - The film documents the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, highlighting the achievements of the individual Olympians. Documentary, 145 min., VHS, dir: Bud Greenspan.
16th Man, The (2010) -This documentary showcases the South African "Springbok" National Rugby Team and its impact on South Africa's transition from segregation to integration. It involves interviews with players and political activists along with vintage video. Documentary, 51 min., DVD, dir: Clifford Bestall.
Skid Row (2007) -A documentary that chronicles Pras Michel's 9-day experiment as a homeless man in downtown Los Angeles. Documentary, 93 min., DVD, dir: Ross Clarke & Niva Dorell.
Skin (2008) - Based on the true story of a black girl who was born to two white Afrikaner parents in South Africa during the apartheid era. Drama, 107 min., DVD, dir: Anthony Fabian.
Skin Game (1971) - James Garner and Lou Gossett as a pair of con artists. Their game is: Garner sells Gossett as a slave; Gossett later escapes; the pair split the profits. Comedy, 101 min., 16mm, dir: Paul Bogart.
Skinny, The (2012) - Five black Brown University classmates--four gay men and one lesbian--reunite in the Big Apple for a weekend of sin, fun, secrets, lies and drama. Drama, 103 min., DVD, dir: Patrik-Ian Polk.
Sky is Gray, The (1980) - James (James Bond III) and his mother Olivia (Olivia Cole) live and work in the fields on River Lake plantation in Louisiana. They leave the plantation for a trip to town because James needs to see the dentist. It is a day of learning and growth for the young boy. Drama, 47 min., 16mm, dir: Stan Lathan.
Slam (1998) - Young Raymond Joshua (Saul Williams) lives in the gang-infested section of Washington districted known as "Dodge City." He ends up in jail due to drug charges, and survives behind bars by utilizing his "slamming" ability, a combination of poetry and spoken word rap. Drama, 100 min., DVD, dir: Marc Levin.
Slavery By Another Name (2012) -A documentary that recounts the many ways in which American slavery persisted as a practice many decades after its supposed abolition. Documentary, 90 min., DVD, dir: Samuel Pollard.
Slave's Story, A: Running a Thousand Miles to Freedom (1972) - The story of the harrowing escape from slavery of William and Ellen Craft, dramatized and narrated by one of their descendants. The thousand mile journey is from Macon, Georgia to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The ingenious plan: Ellen, who is light skinned, dressed as a male planter not well enough to travel alone, takes her "man" William on the train--first class--to minster to her needs. This is one of the most famous slave narratives recorded by William, 1848. Drama, 30 min., 16mm, dir: John Irwin.
Slave Trade in the World Today (1964) - This "shockumentary" documents modern slave trade through a number of Arabian and African countries, under muslim rule. The filming was conducted both in public places, and sometimes with the use of hidden cameras, for high impact scenes of nudity, sex, and violence - and a few surprises, as slaves made out of peregrins to Mecca, and slave traders paid in traveller checks.Documentary, 90 min., DVD, dir: Maleno Malenotti, Roberto Malenotti & Folco Quilic.
Slavery and the Making of America (2005) - Four part documentary series. Documentary, 60 min. (each part), DVD, dir: Dante James.
Sleepy Sam, the Sleuth (1915) - Drama, 12 min., VHS, 3/4", dir: Richard E. Norman.
Slender Thread, The (1965) - A college volunteer at the crisis phone gets a call from a suicide caller. Drama, 98 min., DVD, dir: Sydney Pollack.
Slippin': Ten Years with the Bloods (2005) -A documentary on five members of one of the world's most notorious gangs, the Bloods. Documentary, 84 min., DVD, dir: Joachim Schroeder & Tommy Sowards.
Slowly, This (1995) - A Japanese American and African American man (David Mura and Alexs Pate) meet in a Manhattan resturant and the conversation turns from casual to deeper issues of race and masculinity. Drama, 27 min., VHS, dir: Arthur Jafa.
Small Island (2009) -Hortense, Queenie, Gilbert and Bernard and the story is told from each of their points of view. Its main plot is set in 1948 and focuses on the diaspora of Jamaican immigrants, who, escaping economic hardship on their own "small island," move to England, the Mother Country, for which the men have fought during World War II. Their reception is not quite the warm embrace that they have hoped for. Drama, 180 min., DVD, dir: John Alexander.
Small Steps, Big Strides: The Black Experience in Hollywood (1997) -Small Step Big Strides: The Black Experience In Hollywood provides you with an accurate and moving retrospective of the history of blacks in the movies. Documentary, 56 min., DVD, dir: Velma Cato.
Smile Orange (1976) - Based on the stage play by director Trevor Rhone, "Smile Orange" takes a humorous and somewhat acidic view of the tourism business, mostly from the point of view of Ringo, a hustler, con man and waiter. Comedy, 87 min., DVD, dir: Trevor D. Rhone.
So Be It (1997) -In dialogue with a play by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, So Be It is the story of a doctor struggling in a rural Senegalese village against practices he abhors, including that of the sacrificial lamb. Boasting a brilliant jazz score to match its visual beauty, So Be It is the work of a director, drawn to challenging subjects and willing to take risks. Drama, 32 min., DVD, dir: Joseph Gai Ramaka.
SNCC 50th Anniversary Conference Volumes 1-38 (2011) - 38 volume DVD series documenting panel discussions, workshops, and speeches at the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) 50th Anniversary Conference held at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2010. Event, DVD, dir: n/a
Social Protests and the Civil Rights Movement (1997) - Civil Rights activist Hosea Williams talks about his experiences during the Civil Rights Movement in this C-SPAN production of April 1, 1997. Television, 76 min., DVD, dir: n/a.
Soldier's Story, A (1984) - Near the end of World War II, a proud black Army attorney (Howard E. Rollins, Jr.) is sent to Fort Neal, Louisiana, to investigate the murder of Master Sgt. Waters (Adolph Caesar), a vicious, bitter man who despised his own black roots. Washington, Arthur Evans and William Allen Young play enlisted men in Water's company. Drama, 101 min., VHS, dir: Norman Jewison.
Solomon Northup's Odyssey [aka Half Slave, Half Free] (1984) - Adapted from the 19th century autobiographical "Narrative of the Life of Solomon Northup," the film dramatizes Northup's (Avery Brooks) experiences as a free man sold into slavery by two kidnappers. After 12 years as a slave in Louisiana, he is finally returned to Saratoga, New York, where his wife and three children, now grown, await him. Drama, 118 min., VHS, dir: Gordon Parks.
Some Call it Madness (n.d.) - Nat King Cole performs "Some Call it Madness". Music Performance, 4 min., 16mm, dir: n/a.
Some Kind of Hero (1981) - Eddy Keller (Richard Pryor) is a P.O.W. who, after six years of confinement in Hanoi, returns home to find his wife (Lynne Moody) living with another man. Because his mother (Olivia Cole) has had a stroke and can no longer speak, she needs money to stay in the nursing home. Eddy rises to the challenge. Comedy, 97 min., VHS, dir: Michael Pressman.
Something of Value (1957) - A dramatization of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya which pits native African against British planter and sets Kimani (Sidney Poitier) against Peter McKenzie (Rock Hudson), his erstwhile childhood friend. The film stops short of Kenyan independence but William Marshall plays a Kikuyu leader who bears some resemblence to Jomo Kenyatta. Drama, 113 min., VHS, dir: Richard Brooks.
Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) - When a mysterious traveling carnival comes to town, two young boys, Will (Vidal Peterson) and Jim (Shawn Carson) are terrorized by an evil Mr. Dark (Jonathan Pryce) and his instrument of madness and temptation, a beautiful yet horrific Dust Witch (Pam Grier). Horror, 95 min., 16mm, dir: Jack Clayton.
Sometimes in April (2005) -Debra Winger, Oris Erhuero and Idris Elba star in this drama framed by the Rwandan genocide. Drama, 139 min., DVD, dir: Raoul Peck.
Son of Ingagi (1940) - Spencer Williams plays a detective in this "African" style melodrama about hidden gold, murder and theft, with a happy ending. Comedy, 70 min., VHS, dir: Richard C. Kahn.
Son of Man (2005) -One man's journey of love, deception and betrayal in contemporary South Africa. Based on the New Testament. Drama, 91 min., DVD, dir: Mark Dornford-May.
Son of the Soil (1995) - What's in a name? Three people discuss the tradition and meaning behind their African names in this short film. Documentary, 29 min., VHS, dir: Nonqaba waka Msimang.
Song For Jade, A (2001) - Directed by Shari Lynn Himes, Douglass Harris (Morocco Omari) reflects on a missed opportunity that he had with the former love of his life as he prepares to be in his college friend’s wedding. What he does not know is that the wife-to-be is non other than Jade (Lisa Cruzat), his ex-fiancé. Drama, 20 min., VHS, dir: Shari Lynn Himes.
Song of Freedom (1936) - Paul Robeson plays John Zinga, a London stevedore, a descendant of slaves, who longs to return to his homeland in Africa to help his oppressed people. To this end, he becomes an opera singer which gives him the opportunity to raise money and to sing for the film audience. Musical, 80 min., DVD, dir: J. Elder Wills.
Song of the South (1946) -The kindhearted storyteller Uncle Remus tells a young boy stories about trickster Br'er Rabbit, who outwits Br'er Fox and slow-witted Br'er Bear. Musical, 94 min., VHS (PAL), dir: Wilfred Jackson & Harve Foster.
Soul 1 (1983) - James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, is featured in joint performances with his contemporaries, depicting the different forms of soul music. Each performer stresses the feeling rather than the definition of soul in the eleventh volume of the America's Music series, hosted by Leon Isaac Kennedy. Music Performance, 60 min., VHS, dir: Kip Walton.
Soul 2 (1983) - Leon Isaac Kennedy hosts six dynamic soul performances by Gladys Knight, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Jerry Butler, Freda Payne, and Percy Sledge in the twelfth episode of the America's Music series. He describes their music as the melting pot of America's music. Music Performance, 59 min., VHS, dir: Kip Walton.
Soul Food (1997) - This drama with comedic elements and the first released by Edmonds Entertainment (Tracey and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds) in partnership with 20th Century Fox, was recognized with five NAACP Image awards. Reviewers hailed its complex depiction of an African-American family and noted the fine performances turned in by this solid cast of actors. The film's popularity became the impetus for a cable television series of the same name. Comedy, 114 min., VHS, dir: George Tillman, Jr..
Soul Food Junkies (2012) - Food traditions are hard to change, especially when they're passed on from generation to generation. Baffled by his dad's unwillingness to change his traditional soul food diet in the face of a health crisis, filmmaker Byron Hurt sets out to learn more about this rich culinary tradition and its relevance to black cultural identity. He discovers that the love affair that his dad and his community have with soul food is deep-rooted, complex, and in some tragic cases, deadly. Documentary, 60 min., DVD, dir: Byron Hurt.
Soul in the Hole (1997) -Soul In The Hole is a 1997 documentary about aspiring basketball coach Kenny Jones, his playground dream team "Kenny's Kings", the relationship between him and his players, particularly, playground phenom, 18 year old Ed "Booger" Smith, and life in Brooklyn during the summer of 1993. Documentary, 97 min., DVD, dir: Danielle Gardner.
Soul Man (1986) - When Mark Watson's (C. Thomas Howell) parents refuse to pay his way through Harvard Law School, Mark lies about his race in order to get a minority scholarship. As a "black" student he learns more than he expected, especially from his uncompromising law professor (James Earl Jones) and the girl he falls in love with, Sarah (Rae Dawn Chong). Leon (Wolfe Perry) is a black student who is exploited as the star player of an intramural white basketball team. Comedy, 101 min., VHS, dir: Steve Miner.
The Soul of Nigger Charley (1973) - After the end of the Civil War, escaped slave Charley (Fred Williamson) fights against a group of Southern soldiers seeking to reignite the Confederacy in Mexico. Blaxploitation/ Western, 109 min. DVD, dir: Larry G. Spangler.
Soul of the Game (1996) - The film explores the lives of three African American baseball greats: Satchel Paige (Delroy Lindo), Josh Gibson (Mykelti Williamson) and Jackie Robinson (Blair Underwood). Drama, 94 min., DVD, dir: Kevin Rodney Sullivan.
Soul Power (2008) - While Leon Gast captured the "Rumble in the Jungle" in his Oscar-winning documentary When We Were Kings, his editor, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, using Gast's original footage, preserves the music portion of the event in Soul Power. Featuring musical legends James Brown, B.B. King, Bill Withers, Celia Cruz and a host of others. Documentary, 93 min., DVD, dir: Jeffrey Levy-Hinte.
Soul Soldier (1970) - Western drama about an all black regiment of the U.S. 10th Cavalry stationed at Fort Davis, Texas, 1871, under the command of white officers and ironically fighting against and defeating red men. The love triangle consists of Robert DoQui, Janee Michelle, and Lincoln Kilpatrick. Rafer Johnson plays Private Armstrong, a special friend to the Indians. Western, 75 min., 16mm, dir: John Cardos.
Soul Survivor (1995) - Set in Toronto's Afro-Caribbean section, Tyrone Taylor (Peter Williams) struggles to survive in his harsh urban environment. Attracted to fast money and the glamour lifestyle, Tyrone goes to work for stern street loan shark Winston (George Harris) and becomes caught in a tug-o-war of loyalty when one of Winston's debtors happens to be his cousin. Drama, 89 min., VHS, dir: Stephen Williams.
Soul Vengeance (1975) - A proud black man does time in jail where he is subjected to heinous experiments. Once released, he goes about extracting vengeance on those who put him in prison. This includes both seducing their women and murdering them by a mysterious means. Then the hook is revealed - his murder weapon is his own genitals which are now enormous and super powered as a result of the experiments he endured in prison. Also released under the title Welcome Home Brother Charles. Action, 91 min., DVD, dir: Jamaa Fanaka.
Soul to Soul (1971) - Filmed during the week-long celebration of the 14th anniversary of Ghana's independence in Accra's Black Star Square. Additional footage includes urban scenes and Roberta Flack's trip to a slave fort in Elmina. Music Performance, 96 min., DVD, dir: Denis Sanders.
Souls of Sin (1949) -Unsuccessful gambler 'Dollar Bill' Burton lives in a crummy New York basement room with old friend Bob and a new roommate, friendly blues singer 'Alabama' Lee. But, tired of being broke, Dollar Bill gets more steady employment...doing illegal errands for gangster Bad Boy George. The now prosperous Bill ignores pretty, adoring Etta and takes up with sultry singer Regina. Will Bill's way of life catch up with him? Will his upright friends be more successful in the end? Drama, 65 min., 16mm, VHS, dir: Powell Lindsey.
Sound of Sunshine, Sound of Rain (1984) - This short film explores the senses and experiences of a blind, seven-year-old African American boy through animation. Nominated for an Oscar in the Best Animated Short Film category at the 1984 Academy Awards Ceremony. Drama, 15 min., 16mm, dir: Caroline M. Heyward.
Sounder (1972) - Desperate because his family is hungry, a poor black sharecropper (Paul Winfield) during the Depression in Louisiana, steals meat from a white man's smokehouse and is sentenced to a chain gang. In his absence his wife (Cicely Tyson) molds a strong family unit which survives poverty, loneliness, back-breaking farming chores and despair. Drama, 105 min., 16mm, VHS, DVD, dir: Martin Ritt.
Soundies #2 (1941) - Four short musical vignettes that were popular during WWII: "Blues in the Night," "Let Me off Uptown," "Lazybones," "Virginia, Georgia and Caroline." Music Performance, 12 min., 16mm, dir: various.
Soundtrack for a Revolution (2009) -Tells the story of the American civil rights movement through its powerful music - the freedom songs protesters sang on picket lines, in mass meetings, and in jail cells as they fought for justice and equality. Features new performances of the freedom songs by top artists; archival footage; and interviews with civil rights foot soldiers and leaders. Documentary, 82 min., DVD, dir: Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman.
Soundz of Spirit (2003) - This documentary examines the current hip hop culture by developing connections between creativity and spirituality. Moments of inspiration are recorded to demonstrate the positive social aspects of hip hop. Documentary, 52 min., DVD, dir: Joslyn Rose Lyons.
South Bronx Heroes (1985) - A young man just released from prison and living with his sister crosses paths with two children, also brother and sister, who are on the run from their child pornographer foster parents. Action, 85 min., DVD, dir: William Szarka.
Southern Dials…Soulful Styles (1999) - This television documentary produced by WTVI Charlotte Public Television discusses the history and influence of Black radio stations. Documentary, 59 min., VHS, dir: Steve Crump.
Space is the Place (1974) -Avant-garde jazz musician Sun Ra stars in the movie version of his concept album Space Is the Place. Not following a linear plot line, this experimental film is a bizarre combination of social commentary, blaxploitation, science fiction, and concert performance. Musical, 81 min., DVD, dir: John Coney.
Sparkle (1976) - Drama of three sisters who rise from the Harlem ghetto to stardom, but find that success takes its toll on their lives. Musical, 98 min., 16mm, VHS, dir: Sam O'Steen.
Spencer Williams: Remembrances of an Early Black Film Pioneer (1995) - The documentary follows the early career of Spencer Williams as actor/performer through to his later successess as writer, producer, and director. Interviews with family and friends and black and white industry professionals (including William Greaves). Documentary, 55 min., VHS, dir: Walid Khaldi.
Spies of Mississippi (2013) - In the spring of 1964 hundreds of mostly white Northern activist have joined mostly black freedom workers from the Magnolia state to register blacks to vote. In response, the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission created a secret, state-funded spy agency answering directly to the Governor to infiltrate the civil rights coalition, eavesdropping on its most private meetings, and pilfering its most sensitive documents. The documentary tells the story of the Commission’s most potent weapon –a cadre of black operatives code who have infiltrated the movement, rooting out its future plans, identifying its leaders and tripping up its foot soldiers. Documentary, DVD, 60 min., dir: Dawn Porter.
Spin Cycle (1991) - Lesbian filmmaker Aarin Burch uses abstract image to discuss sexuality; semi-autobiographical. Drama, 5 min., VHS, dir: Aarin Burch.
Spirit Lost (1996) - Leon stars as John, a painter who moves into an old, secluded house on an island with his wife. The couple is unaware that the house is haunted by a seductive widow ghost whose goal is to lure John into the attic and scare away his pregnant wife. Horror, 90 min., DVD, dir: Neema Barnette.
Spirit of Youth (1937) - A poor black fighter climbs to the top of the boxing world. Joe Louis plays Joe Thomas. Drama, 68 min., VHS, DVD, dir: Harry L. Fraser.
Spirituals, The (2007) -An indigenous American art form born out of the fields and plantation houses of the South, the spiritual also served as a covert mode of communication between slaves. The Spirituals recounts the spiritual's bitter histories through the work of a world-renown contemporary spiritual group dedicated to keeping the music alive. Documentary, 28 min., DVD, dir: Ari Luis Palos and Eren Isabel McGinnis.
Splash (1991) - Thomas Allen Harris explores the interplay between identity, fantasy, gender, homosexual desire and pre-adolescence. Drama, 7 min., VHS, dir: Thomas Allen Harris.
Spook Who Sat by the Door, The (1973) - Film adaptation of Sam Greenlee's novel about a black man's (Lawrence Cook) experience in government secret service and what he does with that experience when he is "separated" from the C.I.A. Action, 102 min., DVD, dir: Ivan Dixon.
Spying the Spy (1917) - The misadventure of Sambo Sam, a black (World War I) spy hunter, probably played by Sam Robinson, who captures the wrong German (Schwartz who turns out to be black) and ends up in the Coffin club where he becomes an unwilling initiate into a secret society. He does however end up capturing a spy. Released in 1918. Drama, 10 min., 16mm, dir: R. W. Phillips.
Squeeze (1997) - Tyson (Tyrone Burton), Hector (Eddie Cutanda), and Bao (Phuong Duong) are fourteen-year-old friends from the ghetto who work at a gas station and attend a youth center, but also run drugs for the local gangsters. When the mother of one of them commits suicide, the friends go in different directions. Drama, 100 min., DVD, dir: Robert Patton-Spruill.
St. Louis Blues (1929) - Only extant film of Bessie Smith, who falls in love with an unfaithful man and sings the blues. Musical arrangements by W.C. Handy and J. Rosamond Johnson. Musical, 17 min., dir: Dudley Murphy.
St. Louis Blues (1958) - Nat King Cole stars in this fictionalized biography of W.C. Handy's (the "father of the Blues") life. His film has an all black cast from the various entertainment fields. Drama, 93 min., VHS, dir: Allen Reisner.
St. Louis Blues (2009) -This sweet musical takes us on a cross-country trip through Senegal, from Dakar to Saint Louis in a battered taxi, as passengers sing their stories. Musical, 48 min., DVD, dir: Dyana Gaye.
Stages of Life (n.d.) - Drama, 7 min., DVD, dir: Daniel Williams.
Stances a Sophie, Les (1971) -Filmed in Paris in 1970, this fully-subtitled film features killer music, groov y clothes and post-1968 revolutionary ideals.This film is now perhaps best known for its soundtrack from the legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago (who also feature in the film). Drama, 97 min., DVD, dir: Moshe Mizrahi.
Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002) - This documentary film gives the untold story of the Funk Brothers, the instrumentalists behind Berry Gordy's Motown Sound. Over a fourteen year period, the Funk Brothers were the beat behind every hit Motown record. Forty-one years after beginning with Motown, the group unites to tell their unforgettable story and to claim the recognition that was due to them many years ago. Documentary, 108 min., DVD, dir: Paul Justman.
Standing on My Sisters' Shoulders (2002) - The Civil Rights movement in Mississippi in the 1950s and 1960s is shown from the viewpoint of the women who participated in it as its grassroots leaders. They fought for the right to vote and the right to an equal education. The film contains interviews with many of the Civil Rights movement's most remarkable women. Documentary, 61 min., VHS, dir: Laura Lipson.
Starting Over (1996) - Drama, 2 min., DVD, dir: Lydia Douglas.
Statistically Speaking (1995) - Mavis (Alfre Woodard) is a 45 year-old,single mother who knows statistically speaking she is at risk of missing Mr. Right. However, by joining a woman's group, HEFFERS, her luck changes and she meets Caleb . Roxie Roker plays Ellie; Lillian Lehmann plays Tammy; Dick Anthony Williams plays Johnny Walker. Comedy, 26 min., VHS, dir: Nandi Bowe.
Still A Brother: Inside the Negro Middle Class (1968) - A TV documentary dealing with the conflicts of the black middle class. The major one is whether or not they should align themselves with members of their race regardless of their class status or whether they should emulate white standards in order to rise in the limited areas provided by the society. Speakers include: Dr. Percy Julian, Julian Bond, St. Clair Drake, among others. Narrated by Ossie Davis. Documentary, 88 min., 16mm, dir: William Greaves.
Stir Crazy (1980) - Best friends Skip (Gene Wilder) and Harry (Richard Pryor) decide to leave the corrupt city for the West. While traveling, they are wrongly accused of a robbery and sent to prison. In the midst of a prison rodeo competition, Skip and Harry escape with the help of another prisoner (Georg Stanford Brown). Comedy, 107 min., DVD, dir: Sidney Poitier.
Stomp the Yard (2007) - After the death of his brother, an expert street dancer goes to Georgia to attend Truth University. But his efforts to get an education and the girl he likes are sidelined when he joins in his fraternity's effort to win a step dancing competition. Drama, 115 min., DVD, dir: Sylvain White.
Storme: The Lady of the Jewel Box (1987) - Michelle Parkerson's film is a portrait of Storme De Larverie, former stage manager, M.C., and performer at the Jewel Box Revue that featured male impersonators. A favorite act on the black theater circuit in the forties, fifties, and sixties, the multiracial revue attracted interracial audiences. Drama, 21 min., VHS, dir: Michelle Parkerson.
Stormy Weather (1943) - A semi-biography of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, the film is the story of a black dancer (Robinson) who woos a beautiful woman, Selina (Lena Horne), and wins her after the usual complications. Most of the time is spent with the musical/dance performances of the entire cast. Cab Calloway and his band perform; also Katherine Dunham and her Troupe provide choreography. Musical, 77 min., VHS, dir: Andrew L. Stone.
Story, A Story, A (1973) - This animated short tells the African tale of Anansi the Spiderman's quest to capture the golden box of stories from the gods. Children, 10 min., 16mm, dir: Gene Deitch.
Story of a Three-Day Pass [aka La Permission] (1967) - Turner (Harry Baird), a G.I. stationed in France, gets a three day pass because his captain thinks he's a "good Negro." In Paris, he meets a white shopgirl with whom he has an idyllic weekend love affair which they plan to continue, but when he returns to the base, his Captain--informed of the affair--demotes and restricts him to the base. Music by Van Peebles and Mickey Baker. Drama, 87 min., DVD, dir: Melvin Van Peebles.
Story of Lover's Rock, The (2008) -The Story of Lover's Rock is a feature length documentary tells the story of an era and a music that defined a generation in the late 70s and 80s. Lovers Rock is romantic reggae that was uniquely British. It developed from a small UK scene to become a global brand through the likes of UB40 and Maxi Priest Documentary, 96 min., DVD, dir: Menelik Shabazz.
Straight Out of Brooklyn (1991) - Dennis Brown (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.), tired of watching his father Ray (George T. Odom) beat his mother Frankie (Ann D. Sanders) because he cannot adequately support his family, develops a plan to get his family and friends out of Brooklyn and into the life he dreams of. However, the plan backfires when Dennis steals a drug dealer's (Ali Shahid Abdul Wahhab) pick-up bag. Matty Rich plays Larry Love, Dennis' co-conspiring friend; Kevin (Mark Malone) completes the trio of Brooklyn project youths. Drama, 91 min., VHS, dir: Matty Rich.
Strange Fruit (2002) -In 1937, after seeing a photo depicting the lynching of a black man in the south, Bronx-born high school teacher Abel Meeropol wrote a poem entitled "Strange Fruit" that begins with the words: "Southern trees bear a strange fruit / Blood on the leaves and blood at the root." He set the poem to music and a few years later convinced Billy holiday to record it in a legendary heartbreaking performance. Intertwining jazz genealogy, biography, performance footage, and the history of lynching, director Joel Katz fashions a fascinating discovery of the lost story behind a true American classic. Documentary, 57 min., DVD, dir: Joel Katz.
Stranger Inside (2001) - This HBO-financed drama sheds light on the plight of a young girl whose search for her mother leads her on a journey through the violent world of the women's state prison system. One critic claims that the film, directed by Cheryl Dunye (The Watermelon Woman, 1996), successfully articulates the dangers of prison life and thus provides a more powerful representation than Oz, HBO's graphically disturbing prison drama series. Drama, 97 min., DVD, dir: Cheryl Dunye.
Streetcorner Stories (1977) - a Cinéma Vérité style documentary, was shot in New Haven, Connecticut, and around a convenience store at a busy intersection. Here men come not only to make purchases, but also to trade stories and opinions. Among their subjects are work, politics, police, alcohol, drugs, guns, money, women, and life in general. There is no narration; the camera and microphone simply recorded, over a period of 17 days, the interactions of the patrons. The editing preserves the natural flow of events and avoids quick cuts or obvious editorializing. All of this makes Streetcorner Stories a fascinating and authentic document. Documentary, 80 min., 16mm, dir: Warrington Hudlin.
Strength of Faith Part 1 (2008) - Drama, 70 min., DVD, dir: Ikechukwu Onyeka.
Strength of Faith Part 2 (2008) - Drama, 60 min., DVD, dir: Ikechukwu Onyeka.
Stuart Hall Project, The (2013) - An intimate and engaging portrait of Stuart Hall, the Jamaican-born public intellectual and co-founder of the New Left Review. Documentary, 103 min., DVD, dir: John Akomfrah.
Struggles in Steel: The Fight for Equal Opportunity (1996) - This documentary tells the forgotten story of the African-American struggle for equality in the U.S. steel industry (based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). In a series of interviews intermixed with archival footage and stills, we learn how these workers faced and overcame discrimination that came from white workers, the big steel companies, and even from their own unions. Documentary, 58 min., DVD, dir: Tony Buba.
Struggle From Within, The (1984) - The events surrounding the 1984 protests of South African Prime Minister P.W. Brotha's apartheid policies including the anti-rent increase demonstrations in the Vaal triangle townships are detailed in this documentary. Documentary, 41 min., VHS, dir: Kevin Harris.
Studies in Nigerian Dance No. 1: Tiv Division (1968) - This short film includes documentary footage of Nigerian women dancing with drum accompaniment. Documentary, 12 min., 16mm, dir: n/a.
Studies in Nigerian Dance No. 2: Jos Plateau (1968) - This short film includes documentary footage of Nigerian men dancing with drum accompaniment and singing. Documentary, 8 min., 16mm, dir: n/a.
Studies in Nigerian Dance No. 3: Kamberi Dances - Yauri Emirate, North West State (1970) - This short film includes documentary footage of Nigerian dances, including Akiapa, Maranji, Leku, and Wasan Biri. Documentary, 12 min., 16mm, dir: n/a.
Style Wars (1983) -Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant's historic PBS documentary Style Wars tracks the rise and fall of subway graffiti in New York in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Documentary, 69 min., DVD, dir: Tony Silver.
Submarine (2010) -15-year-old Oliver Tate has two objectives: To lose his virginity before his next birthday, and to extinguish the flame between his mother and an ex-lover who has resurfaced in her life. Comedy, 93 min., DVD, dir: Richard Ayoade.
Subway Stories (1997) -Subway Stories: Tales from the Underground was a film made in 1997 and produced by Home Box Office for television. It began as a contest among New Yorkers who submitted stories about their experiences within the New York City Subway. Variety, 80 min., DVD, various directors including Julie Dash.
Sugar Cane Alley (1983) - Set in Martinique in 1931, this much loved film paints a rich impasto of native life under French Colonial rule, focused on the coming-of-age of a bright opportunistic black boy learning to reconcile the value of his shanty town roots with the promises of the big city. Drama, 103 min., DVD, dir: Euzhan Palcy.
Sucre Amer (n.d.) - Music Video, 4 min., Beta, dir: S. Torriano Berry.
Sugar Hill (1974) -When her boyfriend is brutally murdered after refusing to be shaken down by the local gangsters running their protection racket, Sugar Hill decides to call upon the help of aged voodoo queen Mama Maitresse. Action, 91 min., DVD, dir: Paul Maslansky.
Sugar Hill (1994) - As children in Harlem, Roemello (Wesley Snipes) and Raynathan (Michael Wright) Skuggs see their mother (Khandi Alexander) die of an overdose and their father (Clarence Williams III), a musician-turned-junkie, permanently crippled by Mafia drug boss Gus' (Abe Vigoda) thugs. They turn to the drug life themselves and prosper, but Roemello falls in love with aspiring actress Melissa (Theresa Randle), and is determined to get out of the business, much to his brother's consternation. Drama, 123 min., VHS, dir: Leon Ichaso.
Sugar Babies, The (2007) -The Sugar Babies examines the moral price of sugar --present and past -- from the perspective of the conditions surrounding the children of sugar cane cutters of Haitian ancestry in the Dominican Republic, and the continuing denial of their basic human rights. Documentary, 99 min., DVD, dir: Amy Serrano.
Sugar Cane Alley (1983) -Set in 1931, Sugar Cane Alley paints a rich impasto of native life under French colonial rules, filtered through the coming-of-age of a bright, sweetly opportunistic boy learning to reconcile the value of his shanty-town roots with the education opportunities that beckon him to the big city. Drama, 107 min., DVD, dir: Euzhan Palcy.
Summer of Sam (1999) - Spike Lee reportedly evoked the ire of many who actually lived through the terror wrought by David Berkowitz as the Son of Sam serial killer, particularly the families of the killer's victims. In this Disney film Lee for the first time directs a non-black cast, and contrary to popular misconceptions, Berkowitz is only one aspect of this film. The serial killer's story functions as a frame within which Lee brings New York City, the Bronx in particular, into focus during the summer of 1977 to craft a cinematic study of the ways extreme situations impact individual lives. Drama, 142 min., DVD, dir: Spike Lee.
Sunday Sinners (1940) - Lyrics and music for this musical feature by Donald Heywood, writer and composer, prominently associated with independent black films from 1932. Drama, 60 min., DVD, dir: Arthur Dreifuss
Sundown (1941) - Adapted from Barre Lyndon's book. A woman native assists British Troops in Kenya during WWII. Gene Tierney plays the African native who helps th British find the source of the African native's gun supply. Dorothy Dandridge plays Kipsong's wife. Includes Short: A Stirring of Beads. Drama, 91 min., DVD, dir: Henry Hathaway.
Sundown Limited (1924) - The gang is told to play somewhere that isn't dangerous yet they choose to play in the railroad yard. Following a near disaster they decide to set up their own Rub Goldberg type operation run on dog power. Comedy, 20 min., 16mm, dir: Robert F. McGowen.
Sun's Gonna Shine, The (1968) - Companion film to The Blues According to Lighnin' Hopkins. Recreates Sam "Lightin'" Hopkin's decision to move from cotton chopping to blues singing. Documentary, 10 min., 16mm, dir: Les Blank.
Sunday Go to Meetin' Time (1936) -A black man sneaks out of church and tries to steal a chicken, but gets a taste of hell when he's accidentally knocked unconscious. Comedy, 7 min., DVD, dir: Friz Freleng.
Sunshine State (2002) - The dynamics of race, class and economics come together as life on Plantation Island, a segregated community on the coast of Florida, is explored through the lives of the African Americans of Lincoln Beach and the predominately white residents who live in a section of town called Delrona Beach. The two distinct communities are brought together when a resort wants to expand to the racially segregated island. Drama, 141 min., DVD, dir: John Sayles.
Super Cops, The (1974) - Story of two flamboyant, ingenious policemen nicknamed Batman and Robin known for busting dope pushers in Bedford-Stuyvesant of Brooklyn. Drama, 91 min., VHS, dir: Gordon Parks, Sr.
Super Fly (1972) - Ron O'Neal is the pimp-pusher Priest, who in spite of all, manages to defeat the system and his white oppressors, and walk away with the money and his woman (Sheila Frazier). Some sequences reveal the corruption and despair of the ghetto drug scene behind the veneer of success. Music by Curtis Mayfield. Action, 93 min., DVD, dir: Gordon Parks, Jr.
Super Soul Brother (1989) - Wildman Steve is targeted by a crazed doctor who concocts a potion to make him a "super soul brother." The unsuspecting Steve is led through a series of bank robberies, jewel thievery and "bad" women. Action, 80 min., VHS, DVD, dir: Rene Martinez, Jr..
Surviving the Game (1994) - Mason (Ice-T), a homeless man, is saved from committing suicide by Cole (Charles S. Dutton) and is offered a job as a leader of a hunting expedition including five wealthy men. Mason soon discovers that he will be the prey and runs for his life. Action, 96 min., DVD, dir: Ernest R. Dickerson.
Suzanne, Suzanne (1982) - Suzanne, who is subject and narrator of the film, recounts her experience with her abusive father, and with drugs. The documentary addresses the effects of violence on the entire family and their attempt to cope after the father's death. Documentary, 30 min., VHS, dir: Camille Billops & James Hatch.
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971) - A young starving ghetto child (Mario Van Peebles) is taken in by women in a bordello and grows up to be a "Sweetback," (Melvin Van Peebles) whose sexual performances in a number of different settings are astounding. His experiences with and reaction to the racist brutality of the police (especially their beating of a young militant) turn him into a fugitive whose black consciousness grows and develops as he runs. Much of the film is concerned with the communal effort to protect him and with his flight--real and symbolic--to the border. Music composed and performed by Earth, Wind and Fire. Drama, 97 min., DVD, dir: Melvin Van Peebles.
Swing! (1938) - Much of the drama in this musical is built around the music which is performed from Alabama to Harlem, New York. The Tyler Twins perform the dance numbers. Musical, 69 min., VHS, dir: Oscar Micheaux.
Swish: Cheryl Miller (1984) - Documentary, 3 min., 3/4th, dir: Jessie Maple.
Sylvia: Summer Before College (1983) - A glimpse into the life of a talented black teenager, during the busy summer before she enters college. Sylvia Hall takes time to reflect on her high school experiences and the people who have influenced her. The film reveals a young woman's personal assessment of her priorities and her realization that one can have a lot without needing to "have it all." Drama, 30 min., 16mm, dir: n/a.
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (1968) - William Greaves' critically acclaimed experimental film begins in New York City's Central Park with a film crew shooting a screen test. However, it soon becomes clear that the film crew is improvising and the director has a secret plan for the direction of this film "outside-of-a-film". Though the film was shot in 1968, Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One did not premeire until 1991 at the Brooklyn Museum. Drama, 75 min., DVD, dir: William Greaves.
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take 2 1/2 (2003) - In the unlikeliest of sequels, director William Greaves and a cast of actors reunite 35 years after they made a movie about the making of a movie involving the break-up of a young couple. As in the first installment, "Take 2 1/2" catches on film the frustrations of the actors and crew members as they all struggle to find that symbiopsychotakiplasmic moment. Drama, 99 min., DVD, dir: William Greaves.
Symbol of the Unconquered (1920) - Beautiful (quadroon) girl goes West to claim her dead grandfather's mine and meets with trouble. She also falls in love. There is some mistaken identity involved in the love affair but the film does not opt for "passing." Original title: Wilderness Trail. Drama, 90 min., VHS, dir: Oscar Micheaux.
Symphony in Black: A Rhapsody of Negro Life (1935) - An elaborate compositon, built around four phases of black life, with the real Lady Day, Billie Holiday. Musical, 10 min., 16mm, dir: Fred Waller.
Syncopation (1942) – The love story between a young trumpeter (Jackie Cooper) and New Orleans-born piano player (Bonita Granville) serves as the backdrop for this feature that traces the evolution of jazz from the early sounds of Dixieland to ragtime in Chicago up through the swing era. Also starring Adolphe Menjou and Todd Duncan and featuring musical talents Harry James, Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, and more. Restored in 2K from an archival 35mm fine grain master struck by the Library of Congress from the nitrate negative. Blu-ray also includes nine short jazz films. Drama/ Music, 89 min., Blu-ray, dir: William Dieterle.
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