Black Panthers (film)  

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"This is no picnic in Oakland. It is a political rally organized by the Black Panthers.

On this Sunday in August 1968, their purpose is to have one of their leaders, Huey Newton, released from jail.

When they sing, they sing, “Free Huey.” When they dance, they clench their fists.

The panther was chosen as their symbol. It is a beautiful black animal which never attacks, but defends itself ferociously." --voice over from the beginning of Black Panthers[1]

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Black Panthers is a 1968 short documentary film by Agnès Varda. The film was shot in Oakland, California during the protests over Huey P. Newton's arrest for John Frey's murder in 1967. Newton was a prominent member of the Black Panther Party.



In the summer of 1968, people arrive in Oakland to protest Huey P. Newton's arrest. Newton is himself interviewed and talks about his poor treatment while incarcerated and also talks about the ideals of the Black Panther movement which includes protecting the black community from the police, informing them of their rights, and taking advantage of license to carry firearm laws in order to arm Panthers to police the police.

Other people are interviewed, including Kathleen Cleaver who talks about the natural hair movement and the increasing importance of women in positions of authority in the Black Panther movement. The film ends with Newton's conviction for manslaughter and a hate crime involving two police officers shooting the window of a Black Panther office where Newton's picture had been hung in the front window.


Varda and her crew shot the film in 1968 during her time in California while her husband Jacques Demy was in Hollywood working on Model Shop.


The Criterion Collection released the film as part of the Eclipse box set Agnès Varda in California in 2015.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Black Panthers (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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