On November 27, 2017, UC Berkeley hosts a screening of Julien's Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask, followed by a discussion between Isaac Julien and Judith Butler. The event is one of a number of events in conjunction with Julien's forthcoming exhibition, Playtime, at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture (1 December 2017 – 11 February 2018).
Isaac Julien and Mark Nash’s Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask (1996) is a film portrait of the revolutionary, writer and psychiatrist, whose classic publications The Wretched of the Earth (1961) and Black Skin White Mask (1952) remain the bibles of decolonisation.
In Isaac Julien and Mark Nash’s film, scenes from Fanon’s life as imaged in his writing are strikingly reconstructed. Colin Salmon brings Fanon alive to a contemporary audience through his enigmatic performance, conveying Fanon’s thoughts, actions and desires. The film combines the poetic visual intensity of Julien’s award-winning Looking for Langston (1989) with its mix of archive and dramatic reconstruction and visualisation, with an acute analysis from interview and commentary by those personally and intellectually close to Fanon. Interviewees include the late Stuart Hall (1932-2014) – the pre-eminent theorist of cultural studies – French and Algerian intellectuals and Fanon’s brother and son, Joby and Olivier Fanon.
Frantz Fanon: Black Skin White Mask brings us face to face with the ambivalent identifications that the racist colonial and postcolonial worlds offer their subjects – not only of violence, hostility and aggression but also of desire. The film focuses on two key elements of Fanon’s thought relevant today: the racial encounter between black and white, coloniser and colonised, and the issue of nationalism and violence. The film dwells on Fanon’s unique insights which may help us understand and combat the destructive effects of racism and fundamentalism which continue to affect many countries today.
This free event is open to the public.