Film Screening with Director Ines Johnson-Spain in Attendance: “Becoming Black”

Posted in Africa, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Videos on 2021-11-19 20:34Z by Steven

Film Screening with Director Ines Johnson-Spain in Attendance: “Becoming Black”

Black Germans

Sponsored by Waterloo Centre for German, German at University of Toronto, and Africana Studies at Rutgers University-Camden
November 17, 2021

SYNOPSIS: Becoming Black (dir. Ines Johnson-Spain, 2019, 91 min.):

In the 1960s, the East German Sigrid falls in love with Lucien from Togo, one of several African students studying at a trade school on the outskirts of East Berlin. She becomes pregnant, but is already married to Armin. Sigrid and Armin raise their daughter as their own, withholding from her knowledge of her African paternal heritage. That child grows up to become the filmmaker Ines Johnson-Spain. In filmed encounters with her aging stepfather Armin and others from her youth, Johnson-Spain tracks the strategies of denial developed by her parents and the surrounding community. Her intimate but also critical exploration comprising both painful and confusing childhood memories and matter-of-fact accounts testifies to a culture of repression. When blended with movingly warm encounters with her Togolese family, Becoming Black becomes a thought-provoking reflection on identity, social norms and family ties.

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