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Looking for Langston

1989 / 45m - UK
Looking for Langston poster

An experimental film about the Harlem Renaissance, an intellectual/artistic movement of black people in Harlem, New York that rekindled the interest in the African-American arts. The film takes a strong homo-erotic focus and tries to offer a little insight into the vibe of that era/community.

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Looking for Langston is a mix of archive footage, narrative cinema and more abstract/experimental influences. Director Isaac Julien doesn't explicitly differentiate between these elements and leaves it up to the audience to figure everything out, no doubt hoping everything together would form a new, cohesive whole.

There are some moody black & white shots, but that's where the appeal for me ended I'm afraid. The music is bland, the poetry is downright terrible and the film is so kitsch that I found it difficult to keep a straight face while watching. I think I would've just preferred a straight up documentary.