16mm Film Screening: Women, Race, and Entertainment

Seward Park Library

192 East Broadway
New York, NY 10002

Tonight’s program will feature two films that focus on women and race in American entertainment�"the first being a documentary on a multi-racial jazz band, the second, a fictional rendition of the life of a woman who passes for white in 1940s Hollywood.

International Sweethearts of Rhythm

1986. 30 minutes

Directed by Greta Schiller & Andrea Weiss

The story of a multi-racial, all-women jazz band of the 1940's. A sixteen-piece band with a strong brass section, heavy percussion and a deep rhythmic sense, The International Sweethearts of Rhythm featured some of the best musicians of the day and performed at the Apollo Theatre in New York, the Howard Theatre in Washington D.C. and the Regal in Chicago. This film places the Sweethearts in an historical context and explores the climate of the late thirties and forties with regard to women and minorities.


Illusions�"1982. 32 minutes.

Directed by Julia Dash

This drama, set in 1942, a year after Pearl Harbor, takes place at the National Studios, a fictitious Hollywood motion picture studio. The story centers on Mignon Dupree, a Black woman studio executive who appears to be white, and Ester Jeeter, a Black woman who is the singing voice for a white Hollywood star. Forced to come to terms with a society that perpetuates images as status quo, the film follows Mignon's dilemma, Ester's struggle and the use of cinema in wartime Hollywood, three "illusions" in conflict with reality.

Wednesday, 18 November, 2020


Andrew Fairweather

Phone: 212-477-6770
Website: Click to Visit


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