David Schickele's BUSHMAN (1971) - L.A. premiere of new 4K restoration!
An incredible rediscovery of independent cinema, this newly restored film fuses verité and New Wave styles to capture the political and social environment of the Bay Area in the 1960s.
Feb 21, 2024, 8:00 PM
2220 Arts + Archives, 2220 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057, USA
a film by David Schickele
1971, U.S. 75m, DCP
L.A. premiere of a new 4K restoration, courtesy of Milestone Films and Kino Lorber
An incredible rediscovery of American independent cinema, David Schickele's raw and vibrant Bushman fuses verité and New Wave styles to capture the political and social environment of the Bay Area in the 1960s. The film follows Gabriel (played by Paul Eyam Nzie Okpokam), a Nigerian immigrant newly arrived in San Francisco after fleeing his country's civil war, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery, romantic flings, and adventures within the city's counterculture -- only to find himself caught up in the racism and corruption of the American criminal justice system. With stunning black and white cinematography by David Myers, location shooting and a cast of non-professionals (including a pre-Eraserhead appearance from Jack Nance), Bushman is a poignant and powerful blend of documentary and fiction.
4K digital restoration by the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and The Film Foundation from the original negatives. Funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. Additional support provided by Peter Conheim, Cinema Preservation Alliance. Courtesy of Milestone Films and Kino Lorber.
“With one eye on cinéma vérité, the European new waves and early Cassavetes, and the other on African pioneers like Sembène, Ecaré and Hondo, Schickele not only condemns the reactionary and racist America which will later frame Gabriel on the slightest of pretexts, but also the liberal America of progressive intellectuals who quote McLuhan and Malraux but lapse into rhetoric and misunderstand the deeper meaning of human experience. With irony, poetry and a delicate touch, Bushman leads us into the darkness of the beginnings of an odyssey. And for days, you are unable to think of anything else.” - Cecilia Cenciarelli, Il Cinema Ritrovato
“Calling Bushman an invaluable time capsule from a crucial year for America—and certainly for San Francisco as well—may come off as faint praise, but David Myers’s outstanding black-and-white cinematography and Schickele’s direction offer fresh angles on the neighborhoods, bars, roadside cafés, and dingy apartments that often go missing from films of the era.” - David Hudson, Criterion
“One is immediately struck by the exciting juxtaposition of African outlooks and California urban life. For the first time in American cinema, an educated African elucidates in a no-nonsense manner the bewildering ineptness of American society to live humanistically.” - Albert Johnson
Special thanks to George Schmalz (Kino Lorber).