Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Mary Schmidt Campbell's "An American Odyssey," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden by Mary Schmidt Campbell.

Her entry begins:
Netlfix would be my platform of choice for An American Odyssey: the Life and Work of Romare Bearden. A six part series would open with a middle aged Bearden hospitalized in Bellevue, having “blown a fuse” and suffered a nervous breakdown. His once moderately successful career as a painter has disintegrated. His efforts at becoming a songwriter and amassing enough money to return to Paris, the city that made him feel liberated, have failed.

The action begins with him sitting a table at the hospital, therapeutically making “arts and crafts” as a flashback returns the action to his coming of age as an artist in Harlem, “when Harlem was in Vogue.” The next two episodes recount his mother’s dazzling dominance among the Black middle class and his rebellion against this “respectability” and rising fame as a radical activist and race man. While his mother hosts salons and writes the social column for the Chicago Defender, Bearden immerses himself in his day job, casework with Harlem’s poor and spends his nights with the “Dawn Patrol” in the definitely anti-uplift scene of Harlem’s often transgressive cabarets.

Then his world falls apart. Episode three opens with the 1943 riot in Harlem, his mother’s unexpected death, and...[read on]
Learn more about An American Odyssey at the Oxford University Press website.

My Book, The Movie: An American Odyssey.

--Marshal Zeringue