Two decades after the Civil Rights Movement, James Baldwin revisits historical places stretching from the South to the North – from Selma and Birmingham, Alabama to Atlanta, Georgia and on to the battleground beaches of St. Augustine, Florida and the Dr Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, D. C. On this journey down memory lane, he engages in conversations with friends, activists and fellow writers such as Amiri Baraka, Oretha Castle Haley and Chinua Achebe, reflecting on the past events that sparked the fight against racial segregation, the attacks on churches, racist police brutality and the arbitrary injustices which the Black population had to endure. Questioning their own legacy, these luminaries look at the present and how little has actually been achieved in the wake of the movement, and we, the audience are equally encouraged to reflect on our own era. Dick Fontaine skilfully weaves archival materials into the accounts, making his film at once a poignant historical document and highly relevant today in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement.
by Dick Fontaine
with James Baldwin, David Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, Chinua Achebe
USA 1982 English 91’ Colour & Black/White Documentary Form


  • James Baldwin
  • David Baldwin
  • Amiri Baraka
  • Chinua Achebe


Director Dick Fontaine
Cinematography Ivan Strasburg, Jane Jackson
Editing Julian Fontaine, Keith James, Nigel Mercer
Music Corrnell Dupree, Gordon Edwards, Steve Gadd, Richard Tee Recorded at Mikell’s Restaurant, New York City, Carlton Reese and the Freedom Choir In Birmingham, Alabama, Walter Washington In New Orleans, Louisiana, Grachan Moncur III In Newark, New Jersey
Sound Judy Freeman, Pauk Filby
Producer Dick Fontaine

Additional information

Restored by the Harvard Film Archive

Dick Fontaine

Born in 1939, he began his film career in 1963 as a co-founder of Granada Television’s World in Action Series and is credited with having introduced the methods of direct cinema to British television. Dick Fontaine has more than 40 films to his name, many of them documentary portraits of musicians. From 1995 to 2012, he headed the Documentary Department at the National Film & Television School in Beaconsfield, England.


1966 David, Moffett, and Ornette: The Ornette Coleman Trio; 27 min. · Sound??; 25 min. 1968 Who Is Sonny Rollins?; 28 min. · Will the Real Norman Mailer Please Stand Up?; 60 min. 1970 Double Pisces, Scorpio Rising; 58 min. · Norman Mailer v. Fun City, USA; 50 min. 1972 Death of a Revolutionary; 30 min. 1982 I Heard It through the Grapevine; 91 min. 1983 Beat This; A Hip Hop History; 60 min. 1984 Malcolm X: No Sell Out; 6 min. 1986 Bombin'; 60 min. 1988 Art Blakey: The Jazz Messenger; 78 min. 1994 Betty Carter: New All the Time; 18 min. 2014 Sonny Rollins beyond the Notes; 78 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023