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PERSONAL PROBLEMS, streaming at Rivertown Film

February 17, 2023 @ 7:00 am - February 23, 2023 @ 11:30 pm

Defying the racially exclusive Hollywood studio system, novelist Ishmael
Reed, Rockland County director Bill Gunn and a renegade group of artists
banded together to make a “meta soap opera” about the struggles of a
working class couple in New York City in 1980. They illuminated Black
reality and soap opera banality through the story of a nurse’s aid and her
husband, leading us through the stresses of their lives. “With a
Fassbinderian flair for color and a neorealist’s eye for composition…
Gunn spins a potent ensemble drama from his modest domestic
milieu.”—Hollywood Reporter. USA, 1980, 165 minutes. Zoom discussion with
cast and crew members Sam Waymon and Marshall Johnson, moderated by Bill
Batson, on 2/21.
Personal Problems was produced on 3/4” videotape in 1980 and was shown once
on PBS. It was rediscovered in 2015 and restored, but the master tapes were
too badly degraded to bring them up to modern video standards.
“George Bernard Shaw said that “If you do not tell your stories others will
tell them for you and they will vulgarize and degrade you.” With few
exceptions, this expression can be applied to Hollywood’s treatment of
Blacks from the creation of the industry to now.” – Personal Problems
writer, Ishmael Reed
“Personal Problems is among those rare, quietly unassuming avant-garde
works that takes the trouble to be genuinely entertaining while pushing
formal and textual boundaries.” —Film Comment


February 17, 2023 @ 7:00 am
February 23, 2023 @ 11:30 pm
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