Greetings cinema friends,
Tonight, Black Independents Vol II—our yearly survey of the varied waves of Black independent American cinema—continues at the Cinema with Kathleen Collins’ Losing Ground.
Described by the filmmaker as a comedy about a young woman who takes herself too seriously, Losing Ground finds two married intellectuals—a painter and a philosophy professor—at a creative and romantic crossroads during a summer retreat in Upstate New York. While the film’s lead, Sara (Seret Scott), is engrossed in her research on human ecstasy, her husband (played by Ganja & Hess director Bill Gunn) seems to be finding it effortlessly in his art and with his female models.
Kathleen Collins’ film marked the first feature-length drama from a Black woman in the United States since the 1920’s, and despite success on the festival circuit, Losing Ground was never distributed theatrically, all but vanishing after 1982. In 2015, Collins’ daughter rescued the original negative and oversaw its restoration and rerelease, premiering at New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center. The New Yorker’s Richard Brody spoke to the restoration, “had it screened widely in its time, it would have marked film history."
Tonight’s screening opens with an intimate set from Josh Runnels’ future soul group J.ARTiz and MO’ Soul Collective. Runnels hosts the monthly live music and art series Soul Sessions COMO, supporting established and emerging local and national performers and artists, independent vendors, and Columbia’s art and culture community. Between J.ARTiz and Soul Sessions, Runnels seeks to continue inspiring a larger movement of cultural art, Black liberation, and higher consciousness through Afrofuturistic inspirations.
Black Independents Vol II continues through February with The Inheritance and Nationtime. This Friday the Cannes-breakout and Best International Feature Film Oscar-nominee The Worst Person in the World opens. This genre-redefining Norwegian romantic comedy sits on nearly every top 10 list this year (in pleasant company with Drive My Car) and should be seen with someone you love, someone you used to love… or just blissfully alone in a crowd.