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A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde (1995)

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Release Date:

February 1995 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Life and Work of Audre Lorde See more »

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stunning documentary film about a visionary scholar/poet.
1 May 2005 | by thaslettSee all my reviews

Thank goodness Ada Gay Griffin & Michelle Parkerson made 'A Litany for Survival...'. If they hadn't, it would have to have been made elsewhere or invented! This beautifully photographed film (shot by the cinematographer on Julie Dash's 'Daughters of the Dust', Arthur Jafa) captures the extraordinary intelligence, wit, and charisma which made Audre Lorde such an inspiring woman. She described herself as a "Black lesbian, mother, warrior, poet." That she was all of those things and more is made clear in the film, which traces Lorde's life from her years as a child in Harlem, to living in Brooklyn (writing poetry and teaching at CUNY) through her battles with cancer and the latter years of her life in St. Croix. Griffin and Parkerson pull together the disparate strands of Lorde's life: her painful teaching experience at Tougaloo College in Mississippi in 1968, to co-founding Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press. Those strands were connected in Lorde's profound and generous imagination. The film is a testament to Lorde because, as she once said "When I dare to be powerful-to use my strength in the service of vision, it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid". Ada Gay Griffin worked hard at the poorly-funded, but essential Third World Newsreel, and Michelle Parkerson has been making films about the freedom of the Black imagination for years. "I have come to work on you like a drug or a chisel" Lorde once said. She would, I'm certain, feel that some of that work was accomplished in this film.

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