Zéro de conduite #5: Black TV
Twice a year Beursschouwburg asks Zéro de Conduite to propose a filmprogramme.
For their fifth evening at Beursschouwburg Zéro de conduite chose two spoken word pieces and three films. Originally projected through a television tube, these latter discuss the way racism blinkers us, the invisible and ubiquitous violence it produces and what being black implied in the 1960s in the United States and the United Kingdom. As James Baldwin states in The Negro and the American Promise: “What white people have to do, is try and find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a nigger in the first place, because I’m not a nigger, I’m a man, but if you think I’m a nigger, it means you need it.”
Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death – ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life.
James Baldwin in The Fire Next Time (1963)
Ra, Your Gignity Our Echo (Fred Moten, 2015)
Black TV (Aldo Tambellini, 1968)
James Baldwin in The Negro and the American Promise (Henry Morgenthau III, 1963)
If There Weren’t Any Blacks You’d Have to Invent Them (Charles Jarrott, 1968) Dope (Amiri Baraka, 1980)
Zéro de conduite supports, produces and presents the work of documentary filmmakers Gerard-Jan Claes, Elias Grootaers and Olivia Rochette. The name is a reference to Jean Vigo’s eponymous film made in 1933, a lyrical ode to youthful rebellion.