As editor of this wonderful platform, I do get tired, and sometimes hand over duties to faithful friends and contributors of The British Blacklist.
Here are some of my friends’ thoughts on some of the best Black films this decade has given us. Sidenote, ‘Black Film‘ is whatever they deemed it to be. Sidenote, of course, they were given rules, but friends being friends, they do what they like hence why some are detailed, others are brief. I kinda like the variety… sigh. Happy reading, agreeing, side-eyeing, etc.
Presenting Founder of Bechdel Test Fest (an ongoing screening series celebrating positive representations for women in film). Sunday Brunch film reviewer, writer, programmer and Arts & Culture Comms Officer for Hackney, Corrina Antrobus‘ films of the decade…
Moonlight (2016) – 90/100
A truly beautiful, lush and refreshing depiction of black love and coming of age. Revolutionalised the way black bodies were seen on screen by giving grace and honour to the way dark skin is respectfully lit. Jenkins also gave us a masterclass in sexual tension. Achingly gorgeous. Painfully heartbreaking. Deeply enjoyable.
Strong Island (2017) – 80/100
A bold, engrossing documentary that leaves you in bits and America cracked open. A heady mix of achingly personal whilst rightfully confronting the disgrace of hardwired racism in the States. Effecting, resonating and tender.
Atlantics (2019) – 95/100
Pure divine cinema which saw Mati Diop become the first black woman to win an award at Cannes with her debut feature. As deservedly so; Atlantics gorgeously weaves heavy material of migration, coming of age, female oppression, and workers‘ rights, with a sweetly supernatural story that refuses to be defined into one genre.
Fruitvale Station (2013) – 90/100
A fine introduction to the cinematic skills and careful, respectful storytelling of Ryan Coogler. An important story told with class and integrity. Gripping, dynamic, authentic and compassionate.
Creed (2015) – 94/100
After proving his chops with Fruitvale, Ryan and MBJ proved to be the rice and peas of black filmmaking. Creed crushed any critic daring to say young buck Coogler couldn’t step up to the precious brand of Rocky. He delivered a gracious revival which brought it bang up to date for a whole new, universal generation while redefining black masculinity with humanity and tenderness. Also, a great, good old fashioned blockbuster which pays lip service to the gratification of going to the multiplex.
Dear White People (2014) – 75/100
Gave volume and bass to the weary yet urgent voice of young black millennials and gave us a crystal clear understanding of ‘woke’ when ‘woke’ was a word we used in all seriousness. Dear White People had a lot to say and did so in and hilarious bone-grazing way. The siren call for the film’s cinematic release gave overlooked integrity to UK black audiences and gave the work of New Black Film Collective – who put in the work to ensure it made it to the big screen, a deserved profile boost. It also gave us Tessa Thompson, so …
I Am Not Your Negro (2016) – 75/100
A film that reinvigorated the legacy of James Baldwin at a time when we’ve needed his lessons most. To be able to look back at the stark and eloquent discourse of white supremacy at a time when white audiences seemed ready to listen.
Black Panther (2018) – 96/100
A game-changer and probably one of the most important black films of the decade in terms of proving the thirst and spending power of the black pound. It will open up opportunities to those willing to listen to the chime of the box office or be moved by the solidarity and community engagement inspired by the film. Its depth of representation (thanks to the deft of Ryan Coogler’s filmmaking) offered its female characters stage, voice, and beauty and authentically celebrated the black diaspora in a revolutionary way.
Pariah (2011) – 90/100
Truly gorgeous filmmaking and observed storytelling from Dee Rees which felt like a gasp of fresh air for black queer narratives. Will go down as one of the most resonating coming of age stories of our generation. Another Bradford Young project who has ended the decade becoming one of the most unmistakable cinematographers of our generation. Young has revolutionized the way black bodies are seen on screen with the utmost majesty.
Blindspotting (2018) – 70/100
I loved its fusion of poetry, drama, comedy and social commentary on class and gentrification. Was painfully funny with many a truth in its jest. Enjoyed the wrestle of racial tensions between the two characters who have to confront their societal divides in a way that resonated hard. It’s smart and bold and gave Daveed Diggs a lead he could relish.