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Satirical film ‘The Spook Who Sat by the Door’

A Feb. 3 screening of “The Spook Who Sat by the Door” will be followed by a talk by Assistant Professor of Film Studies Liz Reich in Blaustein Humanities Center 210 from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

The talk, “The Spook Who Sat by the Door and Black Revolutionary Performance,” will introduce this 1973 revolutionary film based on the novel by Sam Greenlee and draw on Reich’s scholarship and research in black cinema and racial performativity. Directed by Ivan Dixon, most famous for his role in “Hogan’s Heroes,” Spook was suppressed by the U.S. government for some three decades following its brief release because of its radical content, according to Reich. It urged black revolution, a cessation of the war in Vietnam and presented detailed a plan for execution of these goals. Reich’s book, “Militant Visions: Black Soldiers, Internationalism and the Transformation of American Cinema,” will be released by Rutgers University Press late this spring.

The following Wednesday, Feb. 10, also in Blaustein 210 at 4:30 p.m., the discussion continues with the screening of the award-winning 2011 documentary, “Infiltrating Hollywood: The Rise and Fall of The Spook Who Sat by the Door.” It will be followed by a talk and Q&A with Christine Acham, Associate Professor of the Practice of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. Acham co-directed and edited the documentary, which has been screened at over 20 national and international film festivals and universities. The documentary investigates the unusual phenomenon of Spook’s production, suppression and recent re-release.

In 2012, the “The Spook Who Sat by the Door” was added to the National Film Registry, which annually chooses 25 films that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" and at least 10 years old.

January 20, 2016