Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther

“Filmed and edited by William Klein … in collaboration with Eldridge Cleaver and Robert Scheer” read the red-lettered credits at the beginning of this portrait of Black Panther activist Eldridge Cleaver. In the late sixties, Cleaver left the United States for Cuba, then Algeria, in order to avoid prosecution. Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther tells the story of his political activism in exile and becomes itself more incendiary by the minute. But it also stops from time to time to take stock, such as in the conversations between Cleaver and Scheer or in Cleaver’s encounters with representatives of Pan-African peace movements or South Vietnam. How does the American struggle fit into the struggle against worldwide imperialism and how does the Panther’s revolutionary language fit into Klein’s images? A film that creates affirmative images, but still asks how images produce images nonetheless.
by William Klein Algeria / France 1970 English 75’ Colour & Black/White Documentary form | Print from the Ruben/⁠Benston Film Collection Walker Art Center.


Director William Klein
Cinematography William Klein
Editing William Klein
In Cooperation with Eldridge Cleaver, Robert Scheer
Music Elaine Brown
Sound Antoine Bonfanti
Executive Producer William Klein

Produced by

ONCIC (Office National pour le Commerce et l'Industrie Cinématographique)

Additional information

Print from the Ruben/⁠Benston Film Collection Walker Art Center.

William Klein

Born in New York, USA in 1928. He first studied Sociology. In 1948, Klein went to Paris and worked as a painter, photographer and filmmaker. He participated in film projects by Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Louis Malle, and directed more than 20 of his own documentaries and feature films. His career as a filmmaker was marked early on by his political commitment to the African American population. Klein lives and works in Paris.


1958 Broadway by Light; 12 min. 1962 Les troubles de la circulation; 16 min. · Le business et la mode; 15 min. 1963 Gare de Lyon; 12 min. 1964 Aux grands magasins; 45 min. 1966 Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo? (Who Are You, Polly Magoo? / Wer sind Sie, Polly Magoo?); 102 min. 1967 Loin du Viêtnam (Far from Vietnam / Fern von Vietnam); 115 min., co-directed by Chris Marker, Joris Ivens, Claude Lelouch, Alain Resnais, Agnès Varda, Jean-Luc Godard 1969 Muhammad Ali, the Greatest (Muhammad Ali, der Größte); 120 min. · Festival panafricain d'Alger (The Pan-African Festival of Algiers); 120 min. · Mr. Freedom (Mister Freedom); 100 min., Retrospective 2002 1977 Hollywood, California: A Loser's Opera; 60 min. · Le Couple témoin (The Model Couple); 97 min. 1978 Grands soirs et petits matins (May Days / Mai '68 im Quartier Latin); 97 min. 1980 The Little Richard Story; 90 min. 1982 The French; 129 min. 1983 Contacts; 14 min. 1984 Ralentis; 30 min. · Mode en France; 84 min. 1992 Babilée '91; 60 min. 1994 In and Out of Fashion; 82 min. 1999 Le Messie (Der Messias); 112 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020